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By Probono Net 7/23/2014

This webinar highlights new tools and approaches that aid advocates with legal screening, triage and analysis activities, and help litigants navigate unfamiliar legal processes. We'll hear from panelists working on cutting edge projects in the nonprofit legal sector, how expert systems can enhance service delivery and support community partnerships, and tools and techniques that focus on balancing considerations rather than applying rules. Join us to hear about what's new - and what's next - in this area


Zach HutchinsonStudent and Research Assistant, Georgetown University Law Center

Adam FriedlProgram and Special Initiatives Manager at Pro Bono Net

Donna DoughertyAttorney-in-Charge at JASA/Legal Services for the Elderly in Queens

Marc LauritsenPresident, Capstone Practice Systems


Liz KeithProgram Director, Pro Bono Net

How can new technologies

  1. Aid advocates with legal screening, triage, and analysis
  2. Help litigants navigate unfamiliar processes
  3. Support community partnerships to expand access to assistance

Community Approaches

  • Neota logic
  • Drools engine
  • HotDocs and A2J author guided interviews
  • Drupal-based options
  • HTML/Javascript

Panelist Zach Hutchinson discusses three triage and expert systems through Georgetown Law’s GULC App Program

The program partners with Pro Bono organizations and, in teams of 3-4 students, creates applications to help with a legal question or problem.

3 types of applications

  • Self-help tools
  • Intake/clinic assistance
  • Advocacy/adjunctive

Zach presents three demos:

  1. OAH benefits appeals coach:   Serves as a coach to users preparing for unemployment benefit hearings at the D.C. Office of Administrative Hearings, and provides targeted guidance regarding the evidence users should present.
  2. Employment Justice Center (EJC) Wage theft advisor: helps low income workers with wage theft claims i.e. minimum wage or overtime issues. Self-help or clinical use
  3. MIDAS (Military Impact of Discharge Assessment System): Helps determine veteran benefit eligibility especially with confusing discharge situations.

Benefits of using these programs: they conditionally ask questions so you don’t waste time determining eligibility, and they produce reports for internal use or that can be emailed to clients

Panelists Donna Dougherty and Adam Friedl discuss the Debt and Eviction Navigator, The DEN and how JASA empowered social workers to conduct legal screenings while visiting homebound elderly clients.  

This tool is designed to:

o   Help you figure out if you have a landlord-tenant issue or a consumer debt issue that should be addressed

o   Provide you with resources so you can learn more about the issue and steps you can take yourself

o   Connect you with legal service providers who may be able to help you take action

Future Goals:

  • Incorporate e-filing
  • Broaden subject areas
  • Generate statistical data, analysis, and reports.

Presenter Mark Lauritsen presents choiceboxing  for helping people make choices which involve competing values and perspectives.

When making decisions that involve many options, considerations, varying degrees of importance, and disagreements about relative importance, creating a choicebox can break down the complexity and help make complicated decisions.

Additional reading:

A Decision Space for Legal Services Delivery by Mark Lauritsen

Collaborative Deliberation through Interactive Visualization: A Choiceboxing Case Study


The New Americans Campaign, a campaign made up over 80 organizations, is paving a better road to citizenship by modernizing and streamlining access to naturalization services so greater numbers of permanent residents take steps to become American citizens. One of the ways they are making an impact is by using CitizenshipWorks. In this short micro-documentary, The New Americans Campaign explores innovative technology to help permanent residents become American citizens. Citizenship Works is a series of online tools to help empower naturalization applicants by answering eligibility questions in four different languages, and to help legal service advocates provide naturalization assistance. CitizenshipWorks utilizes many resources including public tools and resources, advocate resources, a mobile application, an SMS text campaign, and live help. CitizenshipWorks helps answer questions about eligibility for citizenship, and also helps users understand and prepare for naturalization tests. CitizenshipWorks is a project of: Immigration Advocates Network, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and ProBono Net. In a recent webinar hosted by LSNTAP and “Technology Tools To Enhance Legal Services for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Communities” Sandra Sandoval from Immigration Advocates Network, introduces CitizenshipWorks and goes into detail about each of its components. If you want to watch just the segment about CitizenshipWorks, skip ahead to about 30:13.

In 2012 won the webby award for best law site.




LawNY recently received a Technology Initiative Grant (TIG) to implement video conferencing equipment in their 7 offices. Some of these offices will use the new technology in order to conduct remote Social Security hearings through the SSA’s Representative Video Project (RVP). Many of you probably use some form of video conferencing for intake, webinars, meetings, or for other collaborative purposes and understand the benefits of remote communication. If you are interested in installing a new system or upgrading your current one, LawNY may be able to save you some time and headaches.

Over the last 18 months, LawNY learned the ins and outs of video conferencing and the plethora of options available for the different needs legal organizations may have. They compiled their finding in Building Bridges: An Introduction to Video Conferencing for the Legal Services Community. I suggest taking a look if you are considering or interested in upgrading or implementing a video conferencing system. LawNY’s manual is an excellent resource which breaks down and explains how to navigate the transitioning video conference market and can help you figure out what setup best suits your needs. 

Photo by evan_carroll / CC BY-NC-SA



Hackcess to Justice 2014

In December of last year the LSC released a report of a national summit on ways to use technology to provide legal assistance to all Americans. The “Report of the Summit on the Use of Technology to Expand Access to Justice” presents 5 main components which will be the focus of this year’s Hackcess to Justice Hackathon August 7-8th at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, MA.

I suggest looking into the  components in the report if you are looking to take home one of 3 cash prizes! The report lists each of the components, a detailed vision, and an implementation plan for each component. For more information on the rules and judging criteria check out the rules page on the Hackcess to Justice Hackathon website.  

I went through the report and wrote these brief summaries of the outlined components to save you some time, but once you choose a target area, I would suggest reading the full section from report before you get started. 

5 Target Areas

Statewide Legal Portals: A single, statewide mobile web access portal to which a user will be directed no matter where he/she comes into the system

Document Assembly: Users will answer questions regarding their legal matter and a forms system will use the information to generate the appropriate forms

Mobile Technologies: Access to justice services will be location-independent and accessible using smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. (e.g. smartphone scanning for document submission)

Business Process Analysis: Involves mapping of how tasks are performed using standard conventions for depiction processes ensuring complete understanding of how to perform tasks at all levels.

Expert Systems and Intelligent Checklist: Clients enter information into an expert systems which generates legal information tailored for them or legal advocates.Intelligent checklists guide clients and legal advocates through processes.


K. Krasnow Waterman
Principal, K Krasnow Waterman Consulting

Robert Ambrogi
Lawyer, media and technology professional

Glenn Rawdon
Program Counsel, Legal Services Corporation 

A detailed schedule of events including event speakers and presentations has been posted by the ABA Journal. 

Happy Hacking! 




Case Studies in Website Analytics Video

Website analytics are be an important tool to help you understand what people want and are using on your website. In this session, participants from the community -- from Illinois Legal Services, LSNTAP itself, and beyond the legal services world-- will talk first-hand about how they are using website analytics to inform their web strategy and get their clients and colleagues exactly the information they are looking for.


Laura Quinn: Executive Director of Idealware (moderator)
Teri Ross: Illinois Legal Aid Online
Laura Norvig: Digital Media Strategist at ETR
Brian Rowe: LSNTAP/NW Justice Project
Alex Bernardin: San Francisco AIDS Foundation 

 Illinois Legal Aid Online uses Analytics to Inform Outreach, Set Goals, & Ensure Content is User-Friendly

Teri Ross, Program Director at Illinois Legal Aid Online, discusses how she uses analytics for Illinois Legal Aid Online’s two public website: and

Teri creates dashboards for all of her websites

Dashboards are made up of a series of widgets, and they are fully customizable.

Teri looks at a heat map widget of the United States which is a visualization of where traffic is coming from. If you hover over a spot, it indicates the name of the municipality and the number of sessions from that particular place.

  • Illinois Legal Aid Online uses this information to help inform their outreach efforts by comparing their sessions by city to census data. Outreach is targeted to populous cities that are not represented on the map in order to raise awareness about their services.  

  • On the dashboard, Teri saw that mobile was the most used device to access the content, so this information was used to inform their staff that they need to make the Spanish website mobile usable.

  • Illinois Legal Aid Online also sets up Goals using Google Analytics.

Two of theirs are:

Meaningful Illinois Visits (Visits from Illinois that are at least 2.5 minutes long)

Engaged Visits (Visitors who view more than 2 pages in a session)

Google Analytics informs content development for Illinois Legal Aid Online almost daily.

It helps them prioritize what gets updated, and what to focus on.

They use Google Analytics for outreach purposes weekly or monthly.

ETR uses Hubspot for Marketing, Content Development, and to Find New Partnerships  

Laura Norvig, digital media strategist at ETR discusses how her organization uses HubSpot, a marketing software platform.

Hubspot sends a daily email that offers ready-made charts that break down sources of traffic to your website. The graphs are simple, and the data is easy to grasp.

  • It is primarily used as an email marketing tool.

  • It tracks all the people whose emails ETR has and matches them with IPs. This information can be useful to the sales team.

  • From the dashboard you can get into more detail by selecting an IP. This shows you actual webpages that different visitors from that IP went to, and this information can be linked to specific people.

ETR uses this information on a daily basis. It gives them clear insight about who is interacting with their site regularly. This information can help ETR establish partnerships with other organizations. Hubspot is used weekly by the marketing team, and checked monthly for other content based questions.

LSNTAP uses YouTube Analytics for Outreach, Content Creation, and Community Building

Brian Rowe, NTAP Project Coordinator, discusses how he uses YouTube Analytics to get more insight into LSNTAP’s YouTube Channel.

  • The YouTube Analytics interface is updated often, so have someone check often to keep up with changes.

  • Videos tend to have drop-off at 30-60 seconds which is usually viewers figuring out whether or not they are watching the right video.

  • After a minute, start asking if you are retaining viewers.

  • Use menus for long videos allowing users to navigate to relevant content.

  • YouTube Analytics shows where people are pausing, rewinding, and re-watching.

  • If you have a lot of copyright notices and disclaimers you may not have retention all the way through your video per the analytics, so know where your content ends and credits begin for better insight.

  • YouTube Analytics often gives a lot of demographic information because of YouTube and Google+ Accounts.

  • Presents information on types of devices people use to watch videos.

  • Keeps track of embedded links

LSNTAP uses this information as part of outreach promotion when talking to funders. YouTube Analytics allows LSNTAP to show funders how many people are seeing videos and is a great measure of successfulness.  YouTube Analytics are also used iteratively when creating new content.

YouTube Analytics allows LSNTAP to connect to people who are sharing LSNTAP’s videos. If someone is giving you credit you can thank them, and it’s an opportunity to give them more information and start a conversation.

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation Uses Google Analytics to Evaluate Content, Structure Their Website, and Merge Websites

Alex Bernardin, The Digital Content Manager at San Francisco AIDS Foundation, used Google Analytics to better inform a merger with another non-profit organization last year.

 The websites for the two organizations had a lot of overlap. Alex set out to determine if content should be redirected or shut down by following a few steps

  1. Get a broad overview of what has been happening on the website for the last year.

  2. Find all URLS on the site and export them to an Excel file

  3. Use Google Analytics and Excel and do some sorting/color coding to figure out which sections of the website are viewed a lot, and what content needs to be preserved

  4. Find overlap between content on your site, and the site to be merged, and compare traffic to determine if there are better ways to present the information.

By following these steps San Francisco AIDS Foundation Successfully merged their website with Stop AIDS. They acquired search engine credibility, used the information to restructure their website, and determined which pages needed to be redirected to ensure users were getting pertinent information.

** Use annotations in analytics: Allows you to make a note on a specific day to help keep track of what could be causing changes (Example:  MAY 23: started redirecting traffic)

Question for all Panelists from Moderator, Laura Quinn:

If you inherit a website what are the first things you look at when getting started?

BRIAN: Look at analytics. Which pages are viewed the most? Find the content that is most important to people.  Find what needs to be updated and learn more about the community using your site.

LAURA:  Get a Google Grant and get AdWords going. Get an idea of keywords people use to find your site. This information can also help with content and updates.  

ALEX: Do an analytics Audit, and find what pages people are going to. Use webmaster tools to help with keywords and to give you additional insight about the website.   

TERI: Conduct usability testing to see how users interact with the website.


**The Google Analytics Interface Changes Often: Check to stay updated on changes and updates.