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Apr
13
 

LEGAL AID OF NEBRASKA - REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

Expert System Development

Full RFP here: http://lsntap.org/sites/all/files/RFP%20Ex.%20Sys.%20GDCInc.%20%204.1.15.doc

Legal Aid of Nebraska (LAN) is a private, state-wide, non-profit law firm providing civil legal services to individuals throughout Nebraska who meet the eligibility requirements promulgated by the Legal Services Corporation.

 

LAN is initiating this Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit responses from vendors interested in creating an “expert system” to guide self-represented litigants (SRLs) through an informational/educational process that will result in forms and instructions for SRLs.

 

  1. PURPOSE AND DESCRIPTION:

 

  1. Purpose: 

 

         LAN is initiating this Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit responses from vendors interested in creating an “expert system” in specific substantive areas. For purposes of this RFP, an “expert system” is one that contains a sufficient knowledge base to address self-represented litigants’ questions, of increasingly complexity, in the areas of landlord/tenant law and debtor/creditor law.

 

         Depending SRLs’ answers, the SRL will be directed to the appropriate solution:

  • Informational videos;
  • Handbooks;
  • Legal forms (made available through A2J Author) relevant to the substantive area, with step by step instructions for completion & how to present their case in court; and
  • A referral to the LAN intake line, the Nebraska Volunteer Lawyers Program in the form of a completed application based on data provided by the SRL or other appropriate community agency.

 

         LAN anticipates that the expert system will be a free-standing web-based product that also can be accessible through particular portals, i.e., LAN’s website or The Nebraska Judicial Branch website.

 

  1. Goal:

 

Our goal is two-fold: to divert calls for assistance where the limit of our service consists of advice and the provision of forms; and to assist in removing the procedural barriers that prevent ordinary citizens, who cannot afford an attorney and/or are ineligible for LAN services, from effectively representing themselves in court. The means of obtaining the goal is the creation of a virtual self-help web portal where citizens can obtain the required self-help information, tutorials, tools and forms necessary to represent themselves.

 

As such, the goal of this RFP will be to create an expert system a SRL can use to answer simple questions, obtain the information and forms necessary to prepare to defend/prosecute a civil case in county court, apply for help through an on-line application or obtain a referral to an appropriate agency in the community.

 

The end product should be a “beta” model of a statewide triaging portal for Nebraska that would collect data from a person with a civil legal issue and, using algorithms within the expert system refer the user to a specific URL for the most appropriate online resource or to one of a number of programs participating in the portal-based referral process. The expert system would receive as inputs information on the nature of the civil legal issue, the complexity of the issue, the capacity or sophistication of the user, and the desired referrals or referral parameters of participating resources and programs. The system will produce as its output the optimum referral for that user.

Mar
31
 

 

 

Over at LSC we are looking for a new intern in the DC area, this is aimed at students who have June through August free.

You can find the original posting at http://www.lsc.gov/2015-office-

information-technology-oit-intern.

 

Position: 2015 Office of Information Technology (OIT) Intern

Date Posted: March 19, 2015

Location: 3333 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20007-3552

Department:  Office of Information Technology 

Employment Status: Full-time (temporary) 


OVERVIEW:

The mission of the Office of Information Technology is to continuously develop, implement and maintain a networked computer environment and appropriate software applications featuring a well-defined, integrated information system for Legal Services Corporation.    

PRINCIPAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

LSC is accepting applications from students currently enrolled in college. The ideal applicant will be dependable, self- motivated, professional, hard- working, disciplined, and demonstrate integrity. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) is in the process of rolling out new software, including Salesforce and Box for grantee information management. The intern will be integral in supporting the team, and will have the opportunity to manage a specific project of their choosing. This is an ideal position for an Information Technology major seeking real world experience in business software implementation, though students with a different major and demonstrated technology experience are encouraged to apply.

The intern's hours will be 37.5 per week during the summer break. The internship will run from June 1st to August 2015.

The intern’s principal duties and responsibilities include:

  •         Assisting with the coordination of scheduled software application rollouts

  •         Assistance with OIT projects

  •         Light end user support

SALARY:

This internship is paid an hourly rate based on undergraduate year.


APPLICATION PROCEDURE:

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and the posting will remain open until filled. Electronic applications are strongly preferred. Submit a résumé, cover letter explaining why you are a good fit for the position, and writing sample to: jobs@lsc.gov. Include 2015 Office of Technology (OIT) Summer Intern in email subject line.

Legal Services Corporation

Office of Human Resources 

3333 K Street, NW, 3rd Floor

Washington, DC 20007-3522

Fax: 202-337-6383

If reasonable accommodation in the application process is required, please notify OHR at 202-295-1571.


DIVERSITY STATEMENT:

LSC embraces diversity as a core value. We recognize that our success as a corporation depends upon creating and maintaining a diverse team of talented professionals, and we are committed to a workplace that reflects and supports diverse individual backgrounds and perspectives. Our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and non-discrimination includes race, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, personal appearance, genetic information, political affiliation, marital status, family responsibilities, disability and status as a veteran, and any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws or regulation. We strive to have a workplace that is comfortable and welcoming for everyone.

Mar
31
 

Password management software one of the most important pieces of technology that you most people don’t use. At the most basic level a password manager will store sensitive data like passwords and credit card numbers in a virtual wallet that you can access with a single master password. It will then use that data to automatically fill out the forms on websites that you designate, saving you time and freeing you from having to memorize countless passwords.

Because your password manager will auto fill in your information in at sites you have selected you get some protection against phishing, if the data you expect to see filled in is missing it means you probably have been redirected to a phony site. 

It turns out humans are good at patterns and bad at randomness, pretty much any password you can come up with naturally that you can remember easily will have weaknesses that makes it easier for a program to guess it. Password managers will actually generate your passwords for you, and since you don’t need to remember these you can have unique passwords like 7yr+8sg;V2.NZvfG!FTzT{+~4R4dTD generated for each site you use. 


I recommend people use KeePass, it has consistently been rated one of the top password managers, and of those few it is the only one that is open source. Open source is more secure than proprietary systems. No matter what there are going to be smart people trying to break into the system, and it turns out that you are always better off having lots of smart users keeping an eye on things in public rather than a small group behind closed doors.

Once you start using a password manager you are now putting all your eggs in one basket (unless you were reusing your password, in which case you were anyways) so it makes sense to make sure that your master password as strong as possible. It’s ok if it is a little tricky to remember since now it’s the only password you need. I suggest using the Diceware method to create a six or seven word password. Once you have the password DO write it down on a piece of paper, you are probably going to need the help to memorize it. Conventional wisdom says not to write it down but realistically anyone that is digitally trying to access your files will not have access you your physical notes while anyone who mugs you or breaks into your work/home has little interest in your digital belongings. If you are dealing with information important enough that someone might go after it physically then you should either consult an expert or be one yourself, not just going off what you read on a random internet article. 

KeePass is a purely local manager where the the data is never synced or stored anywhere online. You can put it on a thumb drive and take that from machine to machine or if you are not to worried about it being online you can use Dropbox to sync it across devices. If you prefer a cloud based manager LastPass is the way to go, it has all the features you would want, is reasonably priced, and is pretty responsable. They had what potentially could have been a breach in 2011 and handled it quickly, transparently, and well.

Apart from password managers you should have HTTPS enabled, HTTPS Everywhere is a good tool for this,  it’s easy to use and can protect you from a lot of malicious activities while browsing the internet. If you want more security and are willing to deal with a bit more work it is worth looking into encrypting your hard drive with something like Veracrypt and sending your internet traffic through a VPN or Tor

Mar
24
 

Collecting and mapping data via mobile devices

 

There is a need for simple data collecting in the field, I will outline two methods of allowing people in the field to easily collect data and add it to a map. The first method is simple to implement and requires little technical knowledge and no coding. The second method requires a small amount of time from someone proficient with coding, however the final product is significantly better. Both methods make heavy use of Google products, they are flexible, powerful, and free.

 

The simple method is to use the combination of My Track and Fusion Tables. The former is a app used to track journeys, the latter is a tool for data organization and visualization.

 

The first step is to make sure you have a Google account, if you do not have one then go to Google and create one. Once you do then you will need to install Fusion Tables. To do that go to the chrome store and install the Fusion Tables App. Then go into Fusion Tables and set up a new table for the map that you will drop all the data into. Once that is set up you need to get the mobile devices wet up, My Tracks is the suggested tracking tool but any app that exports in the KML format will work, this guide will assume you are using My Tracks.

 

Once everything is set up actually using the system is fairly simple. At the start of the day go to the My Tracks app and hit the record button. From then on whenever you are somewhere you want to record just drop a marker. At the end of the day hit the stop recording button, then export the map to Google Drive. At this point you have to download the KML file to your computer, decompress it from a KMZ file into a KML file, and then go into the Fusion Table and import it from your hard drive. Unfortunately to my knowledge there is no easy way to import it directly from drive.

 

Once you have done all this the data should be automatically uploaded

 

The second method is more work but strongly recommended if you can find the hours to get someone with the know how to set it up. This set up uses Google Forms, Google Sheets, and Fusion Tables. The advantages to using this method include saving time in the field, not having to do as much post processing on the data, the same interface works on any device, more data can be collected, and with the Sheet it’s easier to do other things with the data.

 

Basically what you do is set up a Google form that takes whatever data the user enters along with the geolocation of their devices and drops it into a Sheet that is synced to a Fusion Table. Here is some excellent information on Synchronizing Fusion Tables with Google Forms and Geolocation. Here is a good idea on to format Google Forms on a Smartphone.

 

As you can see Fusion Tables automatically drops the points onto the map.

 

Here you can see the row view where you can see each item as a line entry. Here I’ve opened one up to look at and edit the details.

 

Mar
24
 


 

Trends in Websites

 

Your website is frequently the first impression you make on your constituents. If it was designed before the days of smartphones, or especially if it was designed before the prevalence of wireless internet, you could have some work ahead if you want to make that impression a lasting one. Luckily, you don't always need to start from scratch. There are a few small changes you can make to give your website relevance in 2015.

 

Should you approach mobile with responsive design, a mobile site, or a mobile app? What are the latest features in CRM's? How can you be found on search engines? We'll cover all of these questions and more as well look at the latest trends in web design, and define what's worth investing in, and what's just a flash in the pan.

 

Presented by:

Eric Leland @ Five Paths LLC

Angela Tripp @ MichiganLegalHelp.org

 

Wednesday, March 24th

10am PST / 11am MST / 12am CST / 1pm EST

 

Cost: Free!

 

After the webinar please fill out a survey to help us improve.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K5RJMGG

 

Join the meeting:

https://join.me/NTAPtraining

 

All the slides:

http://www.slideshare.net/LSNTAP/lsntap-made-to-be-modern

 

Please enter your full name when prompted, followed by your organization information

(i.e. Brian Rowe, Northwest Justice Project)

 

Join the audio conference:

No matter how you join the conference, everyone will be on the same audio call.

 

By phone:

Join the meeting, click on the phone icon and select "Join by phone." Dial the number and then the conference ID when prompted.

 

By computer via internet:

Join the meeting, click the phone icon and select 'Join by internet'. Click "Connect."

 

If you have any trouble getting join.me working you can watch a Join.me quickstart video

 

For questions about these trainings, please contact Brian Rowe of Northwest Justice Project at brianr@nwjustice.org or (206) 395-6094 or through LSNTAP.org chat.

This training will be recorded for later posting on LSNTAP.orgs website and YouTube Channel.

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