Planning

Information technology plays an increasingly important role in the delivery of legal services to low-income people. Accordingly, LSC encourages organizations to engage in comprehensive technology planning that covers current and planned uses of IT in all facets of program operations, including how the program is using and will use technology to innovate and improve processes.

Programs should consult the document, “Technologies That Should Be in Place in a Legal Aid Office Today”—which was originally published by LSC in 2008 and revised in 2015—when preparing their technology plans. The document defines the technology capacities that its grantees should have in place or have available to them through a vendor or partner in the access to justice community. It also includes baselines for new technologies, including mobile devices, cloud computing, social media and enhanced security policies, as well as updates resources, useful websites, and other tools.

At a minimum, the technology plan should address the organization’s use of technology in the following areas:

  • Management of client and case data
  • Intake (including online)
  • Telephone advice
  • Case management
  • Case supervision
  • Document management
  • Needs assessments
  • Resource development
  • Support for private attorneys
  • Use of websites and other web-based resources
  • Data security
  • Training

Sample plans

The sample technology plans below are intended to provide general guidance to applications, and may not meet all requirements for future grant cycles.

Community Legal Aid (2015)

This plan from Community Legal Aid in Ohio is a detailed outline separated into 13 sections, the most notable ones being “Overall Program Capacity,” “Management of Client and Case Data,” “Production and Supervision of Legal Work,” “Security,” and “Training.”

Legal Assistance of Western New York (2017)

This plan is a comprehensive summary of Legal Assistance of Western New York’s technology tools, goals, baselines, current status, and future plans. Among the subjects covered most in depth are “Technology Planning, Budgeting, and Staffing,” “Production and Supervision of Legal Work,” and “Accounting, Personnel, Grants Administration, and Fundraising.”

Legal Services of Northern California (2016)

This plan from Legal Services of Northern California mirrors the 13 categories found in “Technologies That Should Be in Place in a Legal Aid Office Today.” In addition, listed at the top of the plan are several of LSNC’s technology-related goals for 2016.

Legal Services of Northern Virginia (2016)

This plan from Legal Services of Northern Virginia starts out with a list of its strategic goals and objectives and then goes into detailing specific focus areas, such as upgrading the Kemps case management system as well as the perimeter routers in each office.

Northwest Justice Project (2016)

This plan from the Northwest Justice Project is extremely thorough and descriptive, packing a lot of technology-related information into a 27-page outline. Among the largest sections of the outline are “Current Technology Infrastructure 2016,” “Current Technology Support,” and “On-line Technology and Websites.”