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The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) will be holding the 15th Annual Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) Conference in San Antonio, TX January 14-16, 2015 at the Marriott Plaza San Antonio. This is the only conference focused solely on the use of technology in the legal aid community.

The Upcoming conference is recommended for TIG recipients, IT staff, project managers, executive directors, legal services administrators, website coordinators, document assembly coordinators, attorneys, or anyone with an interest in how to use technology in the delivery of legal services.

Registration opens Fall 2014, and I will send out an update to the Lstech Listserv regarding registration information in the coming months.

LSC’s TIG Conference is now accepting proposals for the TIG Conference in San Antonio, Texas. They are welcoming a range of topics, but the call for proposals indicates that they should relate to how the use of technology can:

  • provide tools to improve limited scope or self-representation for those persons whom legal service providers are not able to represent fully
  • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of access, triage, intake, and internal legal services delivery operations.
  • Encourage and support pro bono
  • Address Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and other special needs populations
  • Deliver services remotely to hard to reach populations
  • Provide legal services staff and pro bono advocates with better litigation and case development support

The deadline for TIG Conference Session Proposals is Friday, August 29, 2014. Submit a Proposal using LSC’s TIG Conference Session Proposal Form.

Read about past conferences to help you get a better idea of presentations from previous years and what you may be expecting at this year’s conference. 


August 6, 2014 This Microsoft Outlook training covers some of the lesser known tips and techniques that will save you hours of time.  Whether you are a new user or someone who has used Outlook for years, you won’t want to miss this information packed seminar that will cover shortcuts and organizational tips across the major Outlook functions: Email, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Search.

Sandy Rylander of Rylander Consulting gives us an inside look at Outlook 2010 and a sneak peak at the One Note Training coming up on September 9th.

The webinar covers some secrets to your Outlook Mailbox

  • How to condense your toolbars to take up less space
  • How to arrange your mail by date
  • How to arrange mail by from (in order by person who sent it)
  • How to collapse view your mail
  • How to narrow down or increase the scope of emails that have to be searched
  • The search bar can be used to limit your search from 50-30-6 by applying simple filters
  • How to organize by conversation
  • How to clean up a conversation which keeps just the final thread of each conversation
  • Sandy also covers how to add the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) feature to your new mail options.

Next Sandy discusses the new People Pane which allows you to:

  • Arrange by a person and the date
  • Shows all emails from or to a person
  • Shows up in the email preview window at the bottom left. 

Creating a Signature Block: to create a signature block, click signature and create a new one by first giving it a name.

  • Designate new or reply signature blocks so you don’t send people you email everyday your full block every time.
  • To change your signature quickly, right click on it, and you get all the options.

TIP: If you ever have a question about how to do anything in Outlook, 99% of the answers are found by right clicking whatever you don’t know how to do.

Quick Access Toolbar

  • Fully customizable for all your favorite tools
  • First, grab the tool bar and move it below the ribbon, so it’s closer to the body of your email.
  • To add tools, right click and “add to Quick Access Toolbar”
  • Same option is available in Word, PowerPoint, etc
  • Right click to customize the toolbar and add whatever you want.

Insert a Screen Clipping or Screen Shot

  • Takes you to the last screen that you saw outside of the Outlook window
  • Then allows you to crop exactly what you want to send
  • Insert screen shot does the whole screen (no cropping)


  • Drag an email from your inbox to the contacts to Auto create a new contact
  • By dragging and dropping the contact will be created by pulling data from their signature block (NO TYPOS!)
  • Drag an email from your inbox to your calendar to create an appointment or meeting
  • Drag an email from your inbox to tasks to create a new task
  • Saves so much time!


  • Whenever you want to change the look of something use the view tab
  • This allows you to sort data more effectively for how you use it

Calendar Color Coding:

  • Auto Color Code ( set up conditional color coding)
  • Or Categorize manually, by changing the color of your different events.
  • To set up color coding go the view menu and click settings.
  • Choose  conditional formatting and give it a name ie (Birthdays) and choose a color (red)
  • Set up the conditions for example in this category, I want all birthdays or anniversaries. Any time I  create an even with one of those words, my event will auto turn red.
  • Separate conditions by commas
  • Make them somewhat unique

Sandy Rylander ends this training by fielding questions, and introducing the group of over 100 to One Note which will be taught on September 9th.

One Note in 5 Minutes:

  • Basically a note taking piece of software
  • Contains binders to help you organize your life
    • To do
    • Travel
    • Investments
    • Business
  • The search option easily searches text so you can quickly find where your notes are
  • Easy to send emails to one note or from the web

Sandy’s Book on Outlook 2010 is available to you For non-commercial, non-profit use only Copyright Sandy Rylander. She suggests either reading it on your screen, or maybe printing out one copy for office use. 


I am very excited to announce the launch of A2J Author’s new revamped  website and software! Access to Justice (A2J) Author is a cloud based software tool which enables legal aid advocates to deliver greater access to justice for self-represented litigants. A2J Author 5.0 rolled out on August 1st and is The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction’s (CALI) and The Center for Access to Justice and Technology at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law’s (CAJT) latest version of software which implements user friendly web-based interfaces for document assembly. For those of you who aren’t familiar, A2J Author has been referred to by John Mayer, Executive Director CALI as Legal Zoom for the poor.

The new site is designed to run in modern browsers and doesn’t require users to download  additional software. This has the advantage of allowing for quicker bug fixes and enhancements, and an all around better user experience. Additioanlly the update allows A2J Author to work with modern web browser standards, which makes the site easier to find and more accessible. will direct to the new website and the new system. The old website will still be available for at least a year at

For more information about all the new features and updates see John Mayers announcment regarding the roll out. 

Here is the video from A2J's roll out webinar for A2J Author 5.0!


photo by Abd allah Foteih /CC BY-SA 2.0

Marketing and Independent research institutions are continually finding that Short Message Service (SMS), commonly known as text messaging, is increasingly becoming one of the most effective ways to reach people.  An infographic from SlickText at the end of this post highlights some of the major benefits of SMS campaigns. Some of the stats include:

  • SMS sees an engagement of 6-8 times higher than email marketing
  • Text messages are usually read within 5 seconds of receipt
  • The average person looks at his/her phone 150 times/day

I am excited to announce that legal organizations are beginning to take advantage of SMS campaigns. Last month four text message campaigns were launched to provide legal education and referral information to client populations. 

  • LawHelpNY is piloting a project to provide information and hotline assistance to domestic violence survivors in immigrant communities. The campaign informs immigrant victim of their rights to shelter, healthcare, and free legal services. For more information, check out LawHelpNY’s DV Information Via Text Press Release.
  • Georgia Legal Services Program launched a new text messaging campaign targeting low-income clients with consumer issues. The campaign allows users to receive lawyer referral information without a data plan and guides users to the appropriate legal information. For more information about this campaign, check out’s Self-help Information via Text Press Release.
  • introduced a text message campaign which helps low-income individuals get their driver’s license reinstated by texting DRIVE to 877877. The campaign guides users to legal information and referral services all through text message. For more information on this campaign, see the Northwest Justice Project’s Referrals, Information and Self-help via Text Message Press Release.
  • Illinois Legal Aid Online is piloting a project to provide legal and referral information to help young people get their juvenile records expunged.

Please use the comments section to share information about other ways legal aid organizations are taking advantage of SMS campaigns, and check back for updates.

Find more great infographics on NerdGraph Infographics




Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) received a TIG Grant to develop the Illinois Statewide Online Access System for triage and intake. The award winning system is a portal for people seeking legal assistance in Illinois. ILAO developed some technical documentation for the application, including both the triage/intake application on and the administrative and reporting backend on It is an amazingly useful resource that can be used as a starter kit for other legal aid organizations developing online access systems.  

The page includes ILAO’s Statewide Online Access System’s goals, documentation, including full system technical documentation, and sample triage rules.