2018 Technology Initiative Grants Awarded to 24 LSC Grantees

October 15, 2018

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that it is awarding 26 Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) to 24 legal services organizations in 21 states for a total of $3,884,257

The TIG program funds projects that use technology to provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance for low-income Americans. Established in 2000, the program distributes up to $4 million annually to LSC-funded legal aid organizations around the country. LSC has funded more than 720 technology projects at nearly $65 million. LSC grantees use this funding to explore new ways of serving eligible clients, strengthen program capacity, and support the efforts of pro bono attorneys.

“LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants increase access to justice for low-income people with critical civil legal needs,” said LSC President Jim Sandman. “These technology projects improve the delivery of legal services and make a difference to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Among the 26 funded initiatives are projects that enhance online self-help resources, expand services to rural communities, and facilitate clients’ ability to seek legal help via text messaging services and voice assistants like Google’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa.

 


 

Legal Services Alabama Receives $26,999 Technology Grant from the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Legal Services Alabama will receive a $26,999 Technology Initiative Grant to improve its use of technology in assisting low-income Alabamans with civil legal needs. Established in 2000, LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations in developing and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

“LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants increase access to justice for low-income people with critical civil legal needs,” said LSC President Jim Sandman. “These technology projects improve the delivery of legal services and make a difference to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Legal Services Alabama will use the award to strengthen its capacity to serve low-income clients. The organization will undertake a comprehensive technological assessment and develop a strategy to address its immediate technology needs and long-term goals.

Members of the Alabama congressional delegation applauded the grant:

Representative Gary Palmer: “Legal Services Alabama has provided needed help to many low-income individuals throughout Alabama. I am very pleased they are receiving this grant to further assist them in their work.”

Representative Martha Roby: “I am looking forward to seeing Legal Services utilize the important support they’ve received to ensure that they are able to continue their work to serve the communities throughout the State of Alabama.”

Representative Terri Sewell: “No American should have to face legal challenges alone without the help of qualified legal assistance. Today’s grant provides Legal Services Alabama with the resources they need to strengthen their technological capacity and connect more families in our state with the help they need.”

Legal Services Alabama is one of 24 recipients of 2018 Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling nearly $4 million.

 

Alaska Legal Services Corporation Receives $171,879 Technology Grant from the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Alaska Legal Services Corporation will receive a $171,879 Technology Initiative Grant to enhance communication with individuals seeking civil legal assistance online. Established in 2000, LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations in developing and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

“LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants increase access to justice for low-income people with critical civil legal needs,” said LSC President Jim Sandman. “These technology projects improve the delivery of legal services and make a difference to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Alaska Legal Services Corporation will use its grant to enhance the electronic client referrals system for states piloting Legal Navigator portals—an initiative launched by LSC, Microsoft, and Pro Bono Net to direct individuals with civil legal needs to the most appropriate forms of assistance. With the support of this grant, project teams with Alaska Legal Services and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii will work to simplify the process through which people seeking legal information access civil legal assistance online.  

Representative Don Young applauded the grant: “I am pleased that the Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ALSC) has been selected to receive the Technology Initiative Grant which will help update and enhance their electronic referrals system. This critical investment will serve those in need of civil legal assistance and ensure ALSC can carry out their mission to support Alaskans as they navigate the legal system.”

Alaska Legal Services Corporation is one of 24 recipients of 2018 Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling nearly $4 million.

 

Legal Assistance Foundation Receives $266,000 Technology Grant from the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that the Legal Assistance Foundation in Illinois will receive a $266,000 Technology Initiative Grant toleverage artificial intelligence to better meet the needs of individuals seeking civil legal assistance. Established in 2000, LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations in developing and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

“LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants increase access to justice for low-income people with critical civil legal needs,” said LSC President Jim Sandman. “These technology projects improve the delivery of legal services and make a difference to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Legal Assistance Foundation will use its $264,000 grant to enhance IllinoisLegalAid.org, a website providing free legal forms, referrals, and clear information on a variety of civil legal issues. By employing artificial intelligence, the organization will improve legal aid organizations’ client intake.

Members of the Illinois congressional delegation applauded the grant:

Senator Dick Durbin: “This federal funding will help the Legal Assistance Foundation continue its important work closing the ‘justice gap’ that falls most heavily on people living in poverty and other vulnerable populations. This technology grant will allow LAF to better assist thousands of people in Cook County who rely on its services. I will continue fighting for these federal investments that help organizations like LAF empower individuals and achieve justice.”

Representative Robin Kelly: “New technological advances are improving the ways that government and non-profits deliver services. I’m glad that this grant funding will help bring these new technological innovations to our community to help deliver more effective and efficient legal advice and representation to Chicagoland families.”

Representative Mike Quigley: “LAF has continually provided trusted legal guidance to those living in poverty, and this well-deserved grant will help them expand their exemplary work on behalf of our most vulnerable. By improving reliable access to its services through website updates and new digital platforms, including social media and mobile phones, LAF will serve even more Chicagoans as they seek to navigate our complex legal system.”

Legal Assistance Foundation is one of 24 recipients of 2018 Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling nearly $4 million.

 

Indiana Legal Services Receives $27,000 Technology Grant from the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Indiana Legal Services will receive a $27,000 Technology Initiative Grant to enhance online resources for individuals seeking civil legal assistance. Established in 2000, LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations in developing and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

“LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants increase access to justice for low-income people with critical civil legal needs,” said LSC President Jim Sandman. “These technology projects improve the delivery of legal services and make a difference to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Indiana Legal Services will use the grant to create a roadmap for an improved statewide legal information website, including enhancing client referrals, offering self-help forms, and providing access to a broad range of legal guidance. This project will also explore how legal aid organizations in Indiana would benefit from more sophisticated triage tools for handling client intake. 

Members of the Indiana congressional delegation applauded the grant:

Senator Joe Donnelly: “I’m pleased that Indiana Legal Services was awarded this grant, which will help make the organization and its tools more accessible to a wider audience of Hoosiers. Seniors, veterans, and those in rural communities are among the tens of thousands of Hoosiers who utilize Indiana Legal Services for critical legal assistance and representation.”

Representative Susan Brooks: “As co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Access to Civil Legal Services Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, members of our Caucus have requested increased funding levels for the Legal Services Corporation so it can support groups like Indiana Legal Services and the clients they serve. I’m proud Indiana Legal Services has been granted this funding to improve their technology resources so they can better support Hoosiers who need legal representation but do not have the means to hire lawyers. Creating a website where Hoosiers can easily access legal information and updating the referral form system will help Indiana Legal Services better manage their significant case load and the needs of each client.”

Indiana Legal Services is one of 24 recipients of 2018 Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling nearly $4 million.

 

Montana Legal Services Association Receives $278,714 in Technology Grants from the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Montana Legal Services Association will receive $278,714 in Technology Initiative Grant funding to improve the quality and availability of civil legal services to low-income Montanans. Established in 2000, LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations in developing and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

“LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants increase access to justice for low-income people with critical civil legal needs,” said LSC President Jim Sandman. “These technology projects improve the delivery of legal services and make a difference to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Montana Legal Services Association will receive a $146,104 grant to extend the reach of the Montana Court Self Help Program to 11 rural communities across Montana. The project will place technology in remote locations to connect rural residents to self-help law centers in more populated sections of the state.

A second grant for $132,610 will allow the organization to introduce artificial intelligence-powered legal tools through a new online pro bono legal advice platform, AskKarla.org. This will help clients properly frame their legal issues and access relevant resources. 

Senator Jon Tester applauded the funding decision: “Montana Legal Services is doing great work defending Montanans when they need it the most. This grant will help provide high-quality legal assistance to those who couldn’t afford it otherwise, and ensure even more Montanans have fair and equal access to justice.”

Montana Legal Services Association is one of 24 recipients of 2018 Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling nearly $4 million.  

 

Legal Aid Society of Cleveland Receives $209,750 Technology Grant from the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland will receive a $209,750 Technology Initiative Grant to employ automated text messaging to enhance services to clients. Established in 2000, LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations in developing and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

“LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants increase access to justice for low-income people with critical civil legal needs,” said LSC President Jim Sandman. “These technology projects improve the delivery of legal services and make a difference to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland will use the grant to help better assess the impact of legal assistance that is limited to brief engagement with clients rather than full representation. The project builds on an existing program that uses automated text message exchanges with clients to study outcomes resulting from brief service. The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland will be able to improve the services it offers clients based on the results of this project.

Members of the Ohio congressional delegation applauded the grant:

Representative David Joyce: “I am proud to support the awarding of this technology grant, which will help further Legal Aid’s mission to ‘secure justice and resolve fundamental problems for those who are low income and vulnerable.’ Anything to help ease the burden of a complicated legal system for those with limited means is to be supported and I am happy to see Legal Aid Society of Cleveland receive this grant so they can continue their good work.”

Representative Marcy Kaptur: “Using technology, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland can broaden its ability to provide assistance and adopt more flexible means of communication with its clients who face pressing civil legal challenges” said Ms. Kaptur. “This effort will enable Legal Aid to stretch further its limited resources and help address its clients’ legal needs through text messaging in a convenient and easy way. It will also help build national infrastructure to gather outcome data and share information and best practices. This award will allow Legal Aid to further expand access to justice for those in Northeast Ohio who need it most.”

Representative Jim Renacci: “The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland has the mission to secure justice and resolve fundamental problems for those who are low income and vulnerable in five counties across Northeast Ohio. The dedicated and talented legal professionals at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland accomplish this goal each and every day by providing their clients with high-quality legal services. The Technology Initiative Grant from the Legal Services Corporation will provide vital resources to assist The Legal Aid Society with the accomplishment of their mission of working for systemic solutions to the legal problems facing their clients. I have no doubt The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland will be good stewards of these resources.”

Legal Aid Society of Cleveland is one of 24 recipients of 2018 Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling nearly $4 million.

 

Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center Receives $212,000 Technology Grant from the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center will receive a $212,000 Technology Initiative Grant to help individuals file for bankruptcy without the help of an attorney. Established in 2000, LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations in developing and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

“LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants increase access to justice for low-income people with critical civil legal needs,” said LSC President Jim Sandman. “These technology projects improve the delivery of legal services and make a difference to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center will use its grant to enhance Upsolve.org. Upsolve helps individuals who cannot afford an attorney to complete Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings through an automated system. Enhancements will include streamlining Upsolve’s bankruptcy questionnaire and improving its operation on mobile devices.

Members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation applauded the grant:

Representative Bob Brady: “I am pleased to see the Philadelphia Legal Assistance Services Center receive a Technology Initiative Grant from the Legal Services Corporation. Ensuring robust funding for the LSC has been one of my greatest priorities throughout my time in Congress, and I was proud to support this effort. I look forward to the Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center using this grant to better serve my constituents.”  

Representative Dwight Evans: “I’m proud to support the important work of the Legal Services Corporation, which helps many people in the Philadelphia region to have access to the courts when they need services like the fresh start that filing for bankruptcy can provide to those who qualify. It’s not a perfect way to lift people out of poverty but it is an important tool in the tool box."

Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center is one of 24 recipients of 2018 Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling nearly $4 million. 

 

Legal Aid of North Carolina Receives $182,000 Technology Grant from the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Legal Aid of North Carolina will receive a $182,000 Technology Initiative Grant to help better prepare self-represented litigants for court. Established in 2000, LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations in developing and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

“LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants increase access to justice for low-income people with critical civil legal needs,” said LSC President Jim Sandman. “These technology projects improve the delivery of legal services and make a difference to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Legal Aid of North Carolina will use its grant to continue developing the A2J Author document assembly product, cloud-based software that helps self-represented litigants prepare court forms and other legal documents. The project will expand the availability of user-friendly legal forms for to North Carolinians facing civil legal issues. 

Members of the North Carolina congressional delegation applauded the grant:

Representative G.K. Butterfield: “Legal Aid of North Carolina has long provided free legal services to North Carolinians who need it most. This grant will expand their ability to help North Carolinians who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone and without help.  I applaud Legal Aid of North Carolina for securing this grant and I thank the Legal Services Corporation for awarding it to such a worthy recipient."

Representative David Price: “I’m extremely pleased that Legal Aid of North Carolina has been awarded a Legal Services Corporation 'Technology Initiative Grant' to enhance the scope and services of the Access to Justice (A2J) Author software. This online tool synthesizes legal documents for individuals who are self-represented and streamlines them to easily print and submit into the court system. A2J Author is another great example of how technology can expand the accessibility of legal aid in our country.” 

Legal Aid of North Carolina is one of 24 recipients of 2018 Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling nearly $4 million. 

 

Utah Legal Services Receives $308,047 Technology Grant from the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Utah Legal Services will receive a $308,047 Technology Initiative Grant to help ensure that individuals with civil legal needs receive the right referrals and resources. Established in 2000, LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations in developing and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

“LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants increase access to justice for low-income people with critical civil legal needs,” said LSC President Jim Sandman. “These technology projects improve the delivery of legal services and make a difference to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Utah Legal Services’ grant will allow it to employ artificial intelligence to create an online application and client-referral process through the LegalServer Case Management System. The system will guide users seeking legal help through the process of identifying their legal issues and help match them with the appropriate resources for them. 

Members of the Utah congressional delegation applauded the grant:

Representative John Curtis: “Utah Legal Services provides an essential service for Utahans, especially low-income and poor families, to have better access to the legal system.  I am thrilled to see Utah Legal Services receive this grant so that the communities they serve may to be able to better utilize online applications and gain greater access to a fair and level-playing field in our legal system.”

Representative Mia Love: “I applaud the work that Utah Legal Services does to ensure that those who need legal aid are able to get it, regardless of income. This is an intimidating and frightening process for many people. I am therefore pleased that this grant has been awarded to Utah Legal Services to boost its ability to reach out, streamline the process and increase legal aid access to as many people as possible.” 

Utah Legal Services is one of 24 recipients of 2018 Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling nearly $4 million.  

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 133 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.