2019 Technology Initiative Grants Awarded to LSC Grantees

October 10, 2019

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that it is awarding Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) to 30 legal services organizations totaling $4,230,718. The TIG program funds technology projects that provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance and information for low-income Americans.

Established in 2000, the program distributes grants annually to LSC-funded legal aid organizations around the country. LSC has made grants of more than 65 million to fund more than 720 technology projects. Grant recipients have used this funding to create new ways to serve clients, strengthen program capacity, and support the work 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 information to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Among the 30 funded initiatives are several projects that improve online self-help resources. Other projects will increase access to justice for vulnerable populations. For example, American Samoa Legal Aid, Atlanta Legal Aid Society, and Northeast New Jersey Legal Services Corporation will use TIG funding to ensure their services are accessible to individuals with limited English proficiency, while Northwest Justice Project in Washington state will use technology to better reach deaf and hard-of-hearing clients.

 


 Atlanta Legal Aid Society and Georgia Legal Services Program Receive Technology Grants from the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc. will receive a $90,650Technology Initiative Grant (TIG) and Georgia Legal Services Program will receive a $218,007TIG to improve the organizations' use of technology in assisting low-income individuals with civil legal needs. Established in 2000, LSC’s TIG 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 information to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Atlanta Legal Aid Society will use the grant to make AyudaLegalGeorgia.org, its Spanish-language, self-help website, more accessible to online visitors. The organization will also improve online intake for Spanish-speaking clients through its integrated case management system.

Georgia Legal Services Program will use the grant to build three online, interactive tutorials on landlord-tenant issues. The focus will be on teaching self-represented tenants their rights and the steps for proceeding with a case, as well as training pro bono attorneys and legal aid staff. The tutorials will require participants to answer multiple-choice questions to ensure understanding and to maximize effectiveness.

Representative Hank Johnson (GA-4) has worked recently with both organizations to protect Medicaid coverage for Georgians wrongly thrown off their health care insurance. He applauded the grants:

“The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees all Americans the right to the assistance of legal counsel,” Rep. Johnson said. “I am very encouraged that Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the Georgia Legal Services Program received these critical federal grants, and I know they will continue to work tirelessly to protect the rights of all Georgians.

Representative Sanford Bishop (GA-2) congratulated Georgia Legal Services on the award. “I am pleased the Georgia Legal Services Program will be able to update their training for tenants, pro bono attorneys, and other staff,” he said. “The new tutorials will help participants test their knowledge and find out if they have any areas requiring improvement.”

The organizations are two of 30 recipients of 2019 TIG funding totaling more than $4 million.

Legal Aid Chicago Receives $184,200 Technology Grant from the Legal Services Corporation 

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Legal Aid Chicago will receive a $184,200 Technology Initiative Grant to improve its use of technology in assisting low-income individuals 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 information to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Legal Aid Chicago will use the grant to improve online legal content by coordinating with Illinois Legal Aid Online and legal experts. The project will employ a new content-organization model for delivering legal information that is accurate and up-to-date. Improved information distribution and sharing between different platforms will enhance accessibility for users.

Members of the Illinois congressional delegation applauded the grant.

Senator Dick Durbin: “This grant from the Legal Services Corporation will help Legal Aid Chicago advance its vital work of providing free legal services to Cook County’s most vulnerable families and individuals. A person’s access to justice shouldn’t be determined by their wealth or zip code. I’ll continue fighting in the Senate to support the Legal Services Corporation’s mission to ensure fair and effective access to our system of justice for all Americans.”

Representative Danny K. Davis (IL-7): “We are delighted to learn that Legal Aid of Chicago has been awarded a Technology grant of $181,700 as a result of funding provided in the FY 2019 congressional appropriation. This money will be used to improve much needed on-line content for Chicago and statewide for those seeking assistance from Legal Aid of Chicago.”

Representative Mike Quigley (IL-5): “As a Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I am proud to have worked with my colleagues to ensure that the Legal Aid Chicago received adequate funding for its Technology Initiative Grants. It is paramount that all Americans have the ability to access online legal services, and I will continue to pursue this priority in future appropriations.”

Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL-9): “I was so pleased to learn that Legal Aid of Chicago received a technology grant from funding Congress appropriated to improve access to justice in our communities. Legal Aid of Chicago always goes above and beyond in fighting for justice for seniors, veterans, women, children, people with disabilities, people at risk of homelessness, and so many more. This grant will help them advance their mission and more effectively serve those who need legal aid the most.”

Legal Aid Chicago is one of 30 recipients of 2019 Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling more than $4 million.

Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center Receives $298,500 Technology Grant from the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center will receive a $298,500 Technology Initiative Grant to improve its use of technology in assisting low-income individuals 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 information to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center will use the grant to partner with Upsolve.org to develop artificial intelligence-enabled tools to help individuals filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These tools will guide users throughout the bankruptcy process, translating court filings into plain language, setting appointment reminders, and monitoring court schedules for case activity. Users will be able to access these services through the national Upsolve.org platform.

Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1) applauded the grant:

“As a strong supporter of the Legal Services Corporation, I am thrilled the Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center will be receiving this important grant,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said. “Bankruptcy processes are deeply stressful, confusing, and difficult. This grant will help ensure residents of Southeast Pennsylvania understand the rights they are afforded under the law and expand their access to legal counsel. I look forward to continuing to work alongside LSC to give all Americans, regardless of income, a fair shake in the judicial process.”

Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center is one of 30 recipients of 2019 Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling more than $4 million.

South Carolina Legal Services Receives $155,940 Technology Grant from the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that South Carolina Legal Services, Inc. will receive a $155,940 Technology Initiative Grant to improve its use of technology in assisting low-income individuals 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 information to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

South Carolina Legal Services will use the grant to expand the number of online "classrooms" they offer. Six new courses will focus on eviction, criminal records expungement, foreclosure, heir’s property, education rights, and debt collection. South Carolina Legal Services is partnering with the South Carolina Pro Bono Board on the project.

Representative James E. Clyburn (SC-6) applauded the grant:

“I am pleased that South Carolina Legal Services will be receiving funding to expand their online classes.” Rep. Clyburn said. “Online programs continue to aid communities that often lack adequate resources. I am particularly pleased that these grants will provide assistance for victims of unfair evictions and heirs’ property issues, two issues that continue to disproportionately harm rural South Carolinians.”

South Carolina Legal Services is one of 30 recipients of 2019 Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling more than $4 million. 

Legal Advice & Referral Center of New Hampshire Receives $62,290 Technology Grant from the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Legal Advice & Referral Center in New Hampshire will receive a $62,290 Technology Initiative Grant to improve its use of technology in assisting low-income individuals 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 information to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Legal Advice & Referral Center will use the grant to create an online self-help pilot project for self-represented litigants. The project will focus on low-income individuals with cases relating to housing and consumer law. It will employ legal document assembly software and other technology tools to assist individuals have to navigate the justice system without the help of an attorney.

Members of the New Hampshire congressional delegation applauded the grant:

Senator Maggie Hassan: “I am grateful for the work of New Hampshire Legal Aid to ensure that Granite Staters–regardless of their financial circumstances–have access to legal advice and representation, and this federal grant will help support their vital efforts.”

Senator Jeanne Shaheen: “I’m very pleased the Legal Advice & Referral Center has been awarded these important federal dollars, which will help ensure legal assistance isn’t out of reach for Granite Staters seeking help. This significant investment in the center’s technologies and capabilities will improve the delivery of services to New Hampshire residents trying to access legal assistance. As the lead Democrat of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Legal Services Corporation, I’ll continue to work across the aisle to boost federal funding for this important organization.”

Representative Ann McLane Kuster (NH-2) also congratulated Legal Advice & Referral Center.

“Ensuring that individuals without legal representation have the tools and support they need to be treated fairly by our legal system is a critical step forward,” said Rep. Kuster, who has consistently supported appropriation requests for the Legal Services Corporation. “This funding will help to empower low-income individuals who are representing themselves in court. I’m pleased by this development and I will continue my efforts to remove barriers and expand opportunities for all Americans.”

Legal Advice & Referral Center is one of 30 recipients of 2019 Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling more than $4 million.

Legal Services Vermont Receives $152,266 Technology Grant from the Legal Services Corporation

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Legal Services Vermont will receive a $152,266 Technology Initiative Grant to improve its use of technology in assisting low-income individuals 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 information to the millions of Americans who would otherwise have to navigate the legal system alone.”

Legal Services Vermont will use the grant to create more online content for self-represented litigants. The organization will add tutorials for high-demand legal issues, including eviction and temporary restraining orders in domestic violence cases. The expanded library of online tutorials will feature a series of instructional videos informing viewers how to fill out court forms or initiate certain legal actions.

Senator Patrick Leahy congratulated Legal Services Vermont on the award: 

“Fundamental fairness and justice require that access to legal services should not be limited only to those who can afford a lawyer,” Sen. Leahy explained. “This grant will support the critical work of Legal Services Vermont, whose website alone connects thousands of low-income Vermonters to the information they need when faced with civil legal challenges. As Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am proud to support the work of Legal Services Corporation as they help those in need navigate our justice system.”

 Legal Services Vermont is one of 30 recipients of 2019 Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling more than $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 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.