Increasing Access with Tech: Report from LSC Tech Summit
This week I attended the second of two Legal Services Corporation (LSC) Technology Summits. The overall mission presented in these Summits was:
I want to share some of the progress of this Summit towards this goal because I believe virtual lawyers and elawyering from the private bar are key components in using technology to increase access. Keeping all the troops updated seems like a smart idea to me.
[Typical lawyer disclaimer: This is my own personal report from the meeting so it’s only my take-aways and not that of the collective.]
This second summit was a smaller gathering of individuals including state-based and national legal aid organizations, the private bar, technologists, administrators in the court, judges, law librarians, programmers, entrepreneurs, academics, and ethics experts. While the first summit was focused on Blue Sky thinking, this second one was for implementation of those ideas into a more concrete plan to move forward.
Prior to attending the Summit, we were all invited to use Marc Lauritsen’s choiceboxing tool to prioritize the issues we had identified during the first summit. This was a great way to narrow down the collective’s priorities so that we could break out into smaller groups to address these issues.
The five technologies chosen as the focus included 1) document assembly for self-represented litigants, 2) better triage, 3) mobile technologies, 4) expert systems and checklists, and 5) remote service delivery.
On the final day of the summit, John Gracean pulled together each of the break-out group’s reports into a single plan and we focused on strategy. My take-aways from this summit are listed below, most of which come from my Twitter stream:
- Collaboration is going to be necessary between legal services, private practitioners, courts, and for-profit companies that provide online legal services to the public.
- Unbundled legal services are going to be a key component because trying to achieve 100% full service access is not realistic.
- Any solution should not focus solely on providing access to justice to the poor but be expanded to include all of those who cannot afford legal services. Opening up a system that would allow for practitioners to volunteer with the potential to make some money doing low-bono work would increase the incentive to volunteer.
- A secure access portal for remote delivery is necessary. The expert systems for triage, the document assembly and automation tools, access to mobile resources, and other tools, such as web advisors for self-help representatives (A2J, for example) may be accessible from that secure space. Referrals to the appropriate legal assistance for the individual’s need would be made from that portal to legal aid, self-help resources, private bar members willing to do pro bono and/or reduced fee unbundling or full-service, and maybe even for-profit companies with networks of lawyers willing to deliver services online.
- One idea we had in a break-out group was to have an X Prize. Lay out the mission statement and make it an open contest rather than limit the R&D to LSC or legal services resources. Put competition in the marketplace to work for the benefit of access. A legal hackathon as was mentioned in the first summit might also be a fun exercise and provide some different sets of eyes reviewing the issues at hand. A few people were squeamish with the work “hackathon” for lack of understanding so that may be something for someone else to organize for fun.
- Here are my tweets and a few RTs from the event in order of last to first:
- Get past TIG funding & grants. Use new biz model that will support ongoing innovation. #lsctech Call Google? They’re funding Rocket Lawyer
- Ron Staudt talks crossing chasm of adoption. Don’t require sustainability in tech projects but include ongoing R&D, innovation. #lsctech
- How would bar referral services feel about a #lsctech service like this? It’s a source of revenue for them. Would have to include?
- Thanks to Michael Mills for reminding #lsctech again to note larger online marketplace for legal services & how it intersects.
RT Pieter Gunst @DigitalLawyer #lsctech acknowledging need of private sector and investor participation
- The outcome analysis will be interesting as it reports results of unbundling versus full-service. #lsctech
- Performance measures evaluated on litigant perception of fairness of procedure & collected bulk outcomes data. #lsctech
- In matching process after triage, collaborate w/state resources, private bar, clinics, companies w/other delivery platforms. #lsctech
- Need services-register on access portal-triage-expert system- matching with resource whether in person, online, self-help, other. #lsctech
- Pilot jurisdictions for the access portal and triage development. But they are separate projects? I don’t get that. #lsctech
John P Mayer @johnpmayer: #lsctech I swear, this talk about tech in legal aid would be considered SCIENCE FICTION 5 years ago.
- Mobile solutions: redesign info websites for access. Take advantage of location services to provide different forms of assistance. #lsctech
- At some point going in circles about what is UPL is getting in the way of helping those who need legal assistance the most. #lsctech
- Solution to UPL issue: This isn’t UPL so sue me. #lsctech Gets a round of applause.
-RT John P Mayer @johnpmayer: #lsctech Shouldn’t we all build APIs and let integration happen naturally? Cooperation/Coordination at tech level is hard/expensive
- Document assembly vision links to unbundled legal advice if the person determines this is needed. Where private bar plays a role? #lsctech
- They are thinking collaboratively! Increased access to pull in resources from private bar, courts, private companies, etc for legal services
- John Greacen doing a great job at #lsctech pulling together the group’s suggestions after yesterday’s discussion.
- Proposed solution: Access portal for legal service delivery replicated in each state, uses expert systems, triage, mobile. #lsctech
- Noting delivery of services w/tech being proposed would not necessarily be facilitated by a lawyer, but others w/legal services training.
- I suggested centralized secure services portal for public to host personal legal history, needs & to allow access to data permissions-based.
- Would legal services entities benefit from learning about SEO & branding? Public can’t find services offered in same way LegalZoom #lsctech
- Michael Mills reports to #lsctech that expert systems & doc assembly are already there. Hurdle is to get public & legal services to use them
- Discussing remote legal service delivery. #lsctech
- Lawyers should use tech, outsourcing to free them to have time to work at a higher level, focus on value. #lsctech
- Interesting similarities between in-house and legal services experiences. #lsctech
- Disruption = opportunity for our profession. @hackettinhouse describes the consumer law revolution. #lsctech
- What disrupts the marketplace? Consumer demand, nature of communication, prices for lawyers falls, new legal tech on scene…#lsctech
- Legal tech has been sustaining tech, not disruptive. Sustaining traditional lawyering model, based on billable hour, not value. #lsctech
- Discussing UPL. What protectionist issues would come from private bar if what is authorized in terms of expert systems opens up? #lsctech
- Having this outcomes data would help to show what I suspect is the case that some assistance by tech is better than none at all. #lsctech
- What are the outcomes from the self-represented litigants? We don’t have the results data. #lsctech
- National coordination of efforts needed so that state legal aids are not duplicating work. But that requires some standardization.#lsctech
- Discussion of UPL issues in use of expert systems for delivery of legal services. #lsctech
- #lsctech How much document automation/legal process automation is automating inefficient dispute resolution?
- Reminder that we should study what is happening in virtual delivery in medical field & see how they get past barriers. #lsctech
- Mention of filling gaps for legal needs that can’t be handled virtually. But tech can still be used to match & handle other aspects.#lsctech
- Susan suggests we refocus attitude from changing b/c it’s cost-effective to b/c it’s way world is going. FN Born Digital book. #lsctech
- Regulatory restraints on delivery using tech. Are the standards different for private practitioners than legal services community? #lsctech (Will Hornsby told me “no” in person afterwards, but I knew the answer. Just making a point that there seems to be more leeway when the services are provided for free than when a lawyer is being paid. Oh, the moral issues that come into play in that discussion – which is for another day!)
- I’m hoping some discussion re data privacy comes up here with some of these potential applications, & confidentiality issues. #lsctech (Marc Lauritsen reminded us of these issues later that day.)
- Other mobile applications: QR codes, integration with online case management system, translation, gamification of legal process…#lsctech
- Checking out Illinois Legal Aid mobile app. #lsctech Illinois has one of the best state legal aid sites IMHO.
- Jane Ribadeneyra discussing mobile tech currently in use. Mentions potential use of existing social media platforms to connect. #lsctech
- Access is mostly through mobile tech so solutions must be on these platforms. Can’t just repurpose existing legal services sites. #lsctech
- Digital divide not as much of a barrier to online legal services anymore. #lsctech Most clients use the Internet regardless of income level
- Overview of Law Help Interactive, national online doc assembly and automation system, from David Bonebrake.#lsctech
- So many potential uses for choiceboxing for legal service delivery but also in other online spaces. Pay attention Net entrepreneurs.
- Negative attitudes in courthouse towards self represented litigants needs to be addressed. Tech can only take them so far. #lsctech
- Client portal access on nation-wide system to give public control over legal “health record”. Closer to The Intention Economy.:) #lsctech
- Matching systems for the public seeking services with the appropriate lawyer and/or level of service like unbundled, self-help. #lsctech
- Engaging private bar through unbundling. That’s one of my areas of interest here. #lsctech
- Hearing The Intention Economy resonating from medical patients. Will we hear it from consumers seeking legal services in the same way? Yep.
- Tech summit not only on access but addressing efficiency of entities delivering legal services, both full and limited scope services.