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Our friends over at Community Legal Aid are looking for proposals for creating a mobile friendly A2J guided interview. If this sounds like you or someone you know please give this RPF a read and pass it along.


Community Legal Aid


A2J Author Guided Intake Interview

Community Legal Aid (CLA) is initiating this Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit responses from qualified  vendors interested in providing A2J Author (A2J)  programming services as CLA converts its current Drupal-based on-line application into a mobile-friendly A2J Author guided interview that will be integrated with CLA’s case management system.   The scope of work will also include replicating the guided A2J interview in Spanish.



1.1. Purpose:  

 CLA is initiating this RFP to solicit responses from qualified vendors interesting in assisting CLA in  enhancing the accessibility and efficiency of its intake system by creating a guided, mobile-technology-friendly on-line application in both English and Spanish that is integrated with the program’s case management system.  This project is being undertaken with funding from the Legal Services Corporation through its Technology Initiative Grant (TIG) program.

CLA seeks to deploy the latest version of A2J Author to create a guided interview that essentially replicates the conversation that occurs when an applicant applies by telephone.   This will replace a static on-line application form that currently is available through CLA’s website,  By using a guided interview, CLA expects it will be able to more efficiently and accurately identify applicants whose cases fall within CLA’s priorities.   Because the A2J interview will automate the triage role that screening plays in the intake process,  the on-line system  will also include in the interview a mechanism to re-direct inappropriate applicants to other resources, such as the Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder, through which applicants can locate, where available, precise self-help resources or other sources of legal help.   The on-line system will also include a mechanism for collecting data on all applicants to help ensure that the system is triaging applicants correctly.    By using the latest version of A2J Author, the interview will have a responsive design which will improve the quality of access to the on-line application through a mobile telephone.  The answers collected by the A2J interview will then be integrated directly into CLA’s case management system, ProLaw. 

1.2. Goal:

CLA’s goal is to enhance the accessibility and efficiency of its intake system by creating a mobile, technology-friendly on-line application in both English and Spanish that is integrated with its case management system (hereafter, “On-line Application Module”).   This will be accomplished by creating guided interviews in English and Spanish using A2J that will allow applicants to more readily determine if they are eligible for legal assistance at CLA.  The On-Line Application Module will deploy the latest version of A2J Author which has mobile technology enhancements so that applicants can more easily apply for legal services through their smart phones.


1.3. Services Required:

The On-Line Application Module  is to meet all of the mandatory requirements listed in Exhibit A.

1.4 Timeline for Completion:

The On-Line Application Module  is to be completed by June 30, 2017.

1.5          Payment:

Payment will be made in two installments contingent upon completion of  applicable milestones set forth in CLA’s TIG Payment Schedule. The first  payment will be made on or about December 31, 2016 upon satisfactory completion of the first tier of A2J programming and testing described  in Exhibit A.  The second and final payment will be made on or about June 30, 2017 upon the satisfactory completion of the second tier of programming and testing described  in Exhibit A.



2.1.    RFP Coordinator:

Upon release of this RFP, all vendor communications concerning this acquisition must be directed to the RFP Coordinator listed below. Any oral communications will be considered unofficial and non­binding on CLA. Only written statements issued by the RFP Coordinator may be relied upon.

Gordon Shaw, Director of Client Access/RFP Coordinator

Community Legal Aid

20 Hampton Ave

Northampton, MA 01060


Telephone: 413-727-7104


2.2.    RFP Schedule:

RFP released - May 1, 2016

Responses due not later than 8 pm EST - June 15, 2016

Evaluation Period - June 30, 2016

Successful vendor announced - June 30, 2016

Contract signed and work commences -  no later than July 31, 2016


2.3.    Vendor Questions:

 Vendors may contact the RFP Coordinator at the address and/or numbers listed in Subsection 2.1 above with any questions concerning this RFP. All questions must be received prior to the response due date and time listed in Subsection 2.2 above. Written questions are preferred and should be submitted by e­mail to ensure receipt and timely response.

2.4. Response Format:

The proposal must be sent electronically via e­mail in Microsoft Word 97 or newer version, RTF, or Adobe PDF format to the RFP Coordinator designated in Section 2.1 of this RFP. The e­mail subject should be clearly marked “On-Line Application Module TIG”.

The proposal must be received no later than 8:00 p.m., EST on the date specified in section 2.2 of this RFP.

Vendors should allow enough electronic delivery time to ensure timely receipt of their proposals by the RFP Coordinator. Vendors assume the risk for any e­mail delay problems.

Proposals that exceed 20 pages in length and late proposals will not be accepted.

2.5. Response Requirements and Content:


Vendors must respond to each question/requirement contained in Exhibit A, Vendor Response. In preparing their response, vendors should restate each requirement and then give their response.


2.6. Response Date and Location:


The vendor's response, in its entirety, must be received by the RFP Coordinator  at the email address specified in Section 2.1 in accordance with the schedule contained in Subsection 2.2 above. Late responses will not be accepted and will be automatically disqualified from further consideration.


2.7. Costs of Preparing Responses:

CLA will not pay any vendor costs associated with preparing proposals submitted in response to this RFP.

2.8. Responses Property of CLA:

All responses, accompanying documentation and other materials submitted in response to this RFP shall become the property of CLA and will not be returned.


2.9. Proprietary Information/Public Disclosure:

All responses received shall remain confidential until the evaluation is completed and the vendor is selected and approved. Thereafter responses shall be deemed public records.


2.10. RFP Amendments/Cancellation/Reissue/Reopen:

CLA reserves the right to change the RFP Schedule or issue amendments to this RFP at any time. CLA also reserves the right to cancel or reissue the RFP. All such actions will be posted on CLA’s website.


2.11. Minor Administrative Irregularities:

CLA reserves the right to waive minor administrative irregularities contained in any response.

2.12. Inability to Enter Contract:

CLA reserves the right to eliminate from further consideration any vendor that CLA, because of legal or other considerations, is unable to contract with at the time responses are due in accordance with the schedule contained in Subsection 2.2 above.


2.13. No Obligation to Enter Into a Contract:

The release of this RFP does not compel CLA to enter into any contract.

CLA reserves the right to refrain from contracting with any vendor that has responded to this RFP whether or not the vendor's response has been evaluated and whether or not the vendor has been determined to be qualified. Exercise of this reserved right does not affect CLA’s right to contract with any other vendor.

CLA reserves the right to request an interview with any vendor and/or a demonstration from any vendor prior to entering into a contract with that vendor. If a vendor declines the request for an interview or demonstration for any reason, the vendor may be eliminated from further consideration.


2.14. Multiple Contracts:

CLA reserves the right to enter into contracts with more than one vendor as a result of this RFP.

2.15. Non­-Endorsement:

The selection of a vendor pursuant to this RFP does not constitute an endorsement of the vendor's services. The vendor agrees to make no reference to CLA in any literature, promotional material, brochures, sales presentations, or the like without the express written consent of CLA.


2.16. Contract Payment Limitations:

Vendors should anticipate payment at the end rather than the beginning of the invoice period in which they provide services or after they submit any deliverable for which a payment is due.


CLA’s Evaluation Team (Team), comprised  of at least two (2) persons, will evaluate the responses to this RFP. The Team may also consider past contract performance and check references beyond those listed in the vendor’s response.

As part of the evaluation process, at the discretion of the Team, vendors may be asked to clarify specific points in their response. However, under no circumstances will the vendor be allowed to make changes to the response.



4.1. Notification of Selection of Apparently Successful Vendor:

Vendors whose responses have not been selected for further negotiations or award will be notified via e­mail.


4.2. Contract Award/General Terms and Conditions:

Vendors selected to provide application services will be required to enter into a contract with CLA.

Community Legal Aid


A2J Author On-line Application Module


Responses must contain the following information in the following format. Please number your responses to correspond with the information requested here.

  1. Vendor’s name, address, telephone number, fax number, federal tax identification number or Social Security Number (SSN), Uniform Business Identifier (UBI) number, and a description of the vendor’s legal status, e.g., corporation, sole proprietor, etc.
  2. Vendor contact’s name, telephone number, fax number and email.
  3. A statement that guarantees that the response constitutes a firm offer valid for sixty (60) days following receipt and that CLA may accept the offer any time within the 60 ­day period.
  4. A statement on whether the vendor or any employee of the vendor is related by blood or marriage to a CLA employee or resides with a CLA employee. If there are such relationships, list the names and relationships of said parties. Include the position and responsibilities within the vendor's organization of such vendor employees.
  5. State whether the vendor has been a party in any litigation during the past five (5) years. Allsuch incidents except employment-related cases must be described, including the other party’s' name, address, and telephone number. Present the vendor's position on the matter.
  6. Provide two (2) references for programs for other automated documents you have completed. Please include a phone number or e­mail address of the referenced individual so he/she may be contacted.
  7. Scope of Work and Your Cost.  All programming will involve using forms, scripts and interviews as drafted by CLA and will include placing the completed interviews on a server designated by CLA.   Interviews will be completed using A2J Author Software, v. 5.   The vendor will also be responsible for creating output files that will collect the data captured by the interview in an XML format or in a format which can then be imported into CLA’s case management system.    Vendor should also be able to develop a mechanism for collecting data on all applicants to help ensure that the system is triaging applicants correctly.

CLA is seeking to build up to 12 substantive law applications that we will be accessed through a single seamless point of entry.   The areas of law are as follows:  Family, Housing, Wills and Other Advance Directives, Social Security and Disability, Government Benefits, Bankruptcy, Health Care Benefits, Immigration, Employment, Utilities, Education and Special Partner Agency Referrals. Each will be prefaced by a set of standard introductory and eligibility questions.  Pursuant to CLA’s current approved TIG milestone timeline, the English version of this A2J On-Line Intake Module is to be operational  by December 31, 2016  (First Tier), and its Spanish version, along with all revisions following beta testing  and  consumer feedback, must be completed by June 30, 2017 (Second Tier).

  1. Please state your cost for completing this work.

With our recent move from to GoToWebinar changes a lot of things, one of them is you now must register to attend one of the webinars. This does a couple of good things. The first is it will send a couple reminders  to help make sure no one who wants to attend misses it. The second is it helps us collect a lot more data which both improves future webinars and helps us with our reporting. Below is a list of all the Webinars we currently have planned for this year, simply click on the ones you are interested in and follow the directions to register. 

5/23/2016    Outlook 2016
6/22/2016    50 Tech Tips
10/19/2016  User Testing
11/9/2016    Excel Tables

Today we ran our first webinar on GoToWebinar, there were some technical kinks to deal with it went great. Below you can watch the video and get the slides and other materials from this webinar.

Don’t let cybersecurity become the next digital divide!  Learn about the privacy and security implications that arise when lower-income individuals increasingly have to use tech and mobile-enabled tools for accessing justice.   This presentation will outline key directives to guide your program when adopting data-centric technologies and strategies. 

And please take a moment to take this short survey.


  • Wilneida Negron, Florida Justice Tech Center/Data & Society Research Institute (introducing the topic and moderating)

  • Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project

  • Joseph Melo and Mike Hernandez,

  • Amie Stepanovich, U.S. Policy Manager @ Access Now:


Bay Area Legal Aid is now looking for a new Director of Information Technology. If you know someone who might be interested please be sure to pass this along.

If you prefer it in pdf form the application can be found here.


Bay Area Legal Aid

Director of Information Technology – Central Support, Oakland


Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) has an exciting leadership position for an experienced and enthusiastic professional to serve as its Director of Information Technology (DIT). Supported by an excellent Board and Leadership Team, BayLegal staff members provide critical legal services for the poorest and most vulnerable residents in seven Bay Area counties. The DIT will have an exceptional opportunity to help maintain, design, strategically grow, and direct BayLegal’s technology solutions to effectively support our team.

Position: This position is responsible for the design, implementation, and maintenance of BayLegal’s information technology systems and telecommunication systems for our seven-office law firm. Additionally, the DIT administers and serves as the primary point person for the support of BayLegal's client case management database system. The DIT will oversee desktop support personnel and ensure that trouble tickets submitted by staff receive timely responses. The DIT is also responsible for working closely with advocates and attorneys alike to determine and assess their needs.


• Develop, recommend, and implement short-term and long-range strategic technology architecture and initiatives

• Manage backup processes to ensure 24/7 operation of application servers and databases

• Manage virtualized server environment (presently under VMWARE)

• Assess and implement network and system design solutions in order to eliminate downtime for the organization

• Assess, and if appropriate, design and implement transition from local office-based server and storage solution to a managed, hosted, or co-located solution, including providing an analysis of existing points of failure, drafting the systems design, and implementing an upgrade plan

• Develop, recommend, and implement policy for the use of technology in the delivery of legal services through collaboration with other members of the leadership team

• Prepare, manage, and report on technology-focused grants, in consultation with Grants and Development Team

• Oversee maintenance of telecommunication network, IT infrastructure, and Internet connectivity

• Develop, recommend, and implement standards for equipment and software acquisition, installation, and use

• Develop and implement solutions for program-wide computer training

• Collaborate with Finance Team to develop, recommend, and administer annual budget for technology

• Negotiate, administer, and monitor contracts for equipment, software, services, training, and other technology-related matters

• Supervise the provision of local office desktop support and network administration in local offices

• Hire and manage technology professionals and/or consultants

• Communicate the technology vision of BayLegal to staff and other stakeholders



• Keep up-to-date on the trends and advances in the utilization of technology in the provision of legal services


About the Successful Candidate:

• Bachelor of Science or advanced degree in computer science

• At least five years of progressively increasing responsibilities including project management, managing technical support provider/outside support vendors and organizational planning for technology solutions

• Microsoft systems administration certifications

• Demonstrated expertise with Windows Server, Exchange and MSSQL, including demonstrated knowledge of Windows security

• Demonstrated experience in management of virtualized server environments

• Proficiency with Citrix XenApp server administration and VPN administration

• Knowledge of high availability, fault tolerance, and disaster recovery for database and application servers

• Knowledge, implementation, and maintenance of CRM programs

• Experience with MPLS networks

• Hands-on, results-oriented problem solver with excellent time management skills

• Inquisitive and self-directed with an ability to anticipate what needs to be done while still managing/overseeing multiple projects

• Strong organizational, language, and communication skills

• Positive attitude, with ability to work independently and as part of a team


Compensation and Benefits: Compensation is based on experience. Generous benefits package includes medical, dental, and life insurance; long term disability; paid vacation and sick leave; and 401k retirement plan.

Applications: Bay Area Legal Aid thrives on our diversity and we are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to building a culturally diverse workplace and strongly encourage women, persons of color, LGBTQ individuals, veterans, persons with disabilities, and persons from other underrepresented groups to apply. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Please send cover letter, resume, references, and writing sample to: David McGee, Director of Human Resources at Please reference Director of IT in your application.

About Bay Area Legal Aid

Bay Area Legal Aid's (BayLegal) mission is to provide high quality legal assistance regardless of a client's location, language, or disability. Since our founding in 2000 as a regional poverty law firm, Bay Area Legal Aid has earned a strong reputation for outstanding legal services and advocacy. We are the largest provider of free civil legal services to low-income residents of the San Francisco Bay Area, with seven regional offices serving the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. From Napa Valley to Silicon Valley, Bay Area Legal Aid ensures fairness in the civil justice system for the most vulnerable members of our community. We help our clients protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families. BayLegal's 100+ staff members provide wraparound legal services in housing preservation, domestic violence/sexual assault, family law, immigration, economic security, consumer protection, healthcare access, and youth justice.


Right now we have a problem, that problem is lots of useful data is fragmented across lots of websites. Valuable information that is available but just too hard to find hinders everyone, people seeking services, people trying to collect the information to help steer people to the services, and people trying to use that data to make decisions.


The solution is using good data standards in general and Open Referral in particular.


Data standards are a widely agreed upon way of using and storing data to help make things easier for everyone. An open data standard is one which is available to everyone with the goal of making it easy for people to share data and to take that data and use it.


Below you can see two examples of open data standards being put to use. Here you can see has tagged and organized it’s data in such a way that Google can parse it and pull out pretty much all the information you care about. Below you can also see the same thing when you search for a movie and it shows various locations and showtimes with links to easily purchase tickets. On the right there is lots of extra information like reviews, runtime, rating and a trailer.



What is happening here is specific bits of data are being tagged and the google search results is setup to treat that data in a special way. Using the movie as an example all the theaters have, on their own, tagged each of their showtimes with a special tag. Then when Google crawls their site it automatically finds that wherever it’s located and compiles the data into what we see.


A more relevant example would be referral services like hotlines. Currently if a hotline wants to have a good base of resources to refer people to it’s going to require a significant investment. Aside from the initial setup cost maintaining it takes a lot of time. New resources are created, old ones go out of date, and the information you want is often buried in a different location on each website.


This is where Open Referral comes in, it is a system for tagging and organizing data that is specifically designed for health and human services. With this it would be easy to always have the current, well formatted, data at your fingertips. When this has a decent level of adoption you will be able to reliably have all the data at your fingertips and be confidant that if the data changes things will keep working and you won’t even notice.


The main obstacle to this working is adoption, this hinges on getting a critical mass of people to put their data in this format and to develop tools to take advantage of this data. As handy as it would be if people went in and changed their sites to use this more realistically it will probably be something that is written into the contract when a site is being built or overhauled.


The one thing I want everyone who reads this to do is take a good hard look at your upcoming projects and see if Open Referral is something you can incorporate in.


For more information on Open Referral you can visit their website or watch this presentation given by Greg Bloom, the lead organizer of Open Referral.