2016 Technology Initiative Grants Awarded to 27 LSC Grantees

November 9, 2016

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) today announced 34 Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) to 27 legal services organizations in 20 states and one territory. 

TIG funding supports a variety of initiatives, from building more efficient intake systems for clients seeking legal services to creating automated forms to support legal aid staff, pro bono attorneys, and self-represented litigants. The program was established in 2000. Since that time, LSC has made more than 600 grants totaling more than $57 million to civil legal aid organizations across the country.

Hover over above map to see grant amount for each state.


 

American Samoa Legal Aid Receives $61,740 Technology Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that American Samoa Legal Aid (ASLA) will receive $61,740 through the Technology Initiative Grants program to extend legal aid services to residents of the isolated Manu'a Islands in American Samoa. The Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations like ASLA in developing and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

The technology grant will support the All-Island Access to Legal Aid Project. ASLA, in partnership with the two community churches, will establish interview locations with internet access on three separate islands within the Manu'a Islands. Applicants and clients will connect via Skype to ASLA’s main office on the island of Tutuila. They will be able to be interviewed, scan important documents, and receive legal information and services.

American Samoa Delegate Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (AS-At Large) applauded the award. “The isolated and scattered nature of our island home makes American Samoa a natural paradise, but it also serves as a huge hurdle when trying to provide services between islands,” Radewagen said. “I am extremely grateful to both the Legal Services Corporation and American Samoa Legal Aid for recognizing the importance of such a project. I would like to thank the officials at LSC for providing this funding for the All-Island Access to Legal Aid project. I also want to thank AS Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo for his support of the ASLA program, and I want to thank all those at ASLA for their work on obtaining this grant, including Chairwoman of the Legal Aid Board, Terrie Bullinger.”

ASLA is one of 27 recipients of 2016 LSC Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling more than $4.2 million.   

Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida Receives $ 66,379 Technology Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA) will receive $66,379 through the Technology Initiative Grants program to improve communication with legal aid clients. The Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations to develop and replicate technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

With the support of the technology grant, CCLA will partner with PS Technologies to develop an appointment and event reminder system. Legal aid clients will be notified via text message of upcoming appointments, court appearances, and other important deadlines. CCLA’s staff believes that this technology will not only strengthen communication, it will also improve outcomes for legal aid clients.

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) applauded the award. "Congratulations to Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida on its receipt of a technology grant from the Legal Services Corporation,” Wasserman Schultz said. “As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I was proud to fight for increased funding for the Legal Services Corporation, so that organizations like Coast to Coast can continue to ensure every person, no matter their background, has access to justice. Thank you, Coast to Coast, for being a champion for our community’s most vulnerable, and I look forward to continuing to work with you and other legal aid advocates to ensure the Legal Services Corporation has the funding it needs to sustain this important work.”

CCLA is one of 27 recipients of 2016 LSC Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling more than $4.2 million.   

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Receives $139,200 Technology Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that Legal Services of Mid-Florida will receive $139,200 through the Technology Initiative Grants program to launch Florida Legal Services Open Referral Initiative, a project seeking to improve community services referrals. The Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations to develop and replicate technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

With the support of the technology grant, Florida Legal Services Open Referral Initiative will enable all of the state’s legal services providers to share real-time information about their services in an open and easily accessible format. The project will make it easier to locate information about available community resources and help low-income Floridians receive the legal assistance they need.

Members of the Florida congressional delegation applauded the award:

Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-9): “Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida helps ensure that Central Florida’s veterans receive their rightful benefits, its elderly residents avoid unlawful evictions, and countless women and children receive protection from further violence at home. Within Metro Orlando’s low-income economy, too many residents still desperately need access to legal assistance for life’s everyday challenges, and hopefully this grant will help provide more of those vital services.”

Rep. Richard Nugent (FL-11): "It's a well-known fact how challenging it can be sometimes for lower income families, seniors, and veterans to navigate the legal system. The truth is, many people just cannot afford proper representation. That’s why the Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida is such an invaluable service throughout Hernando, Citrus, Marion, Lake and Sumter Counties. Their recent grant from the Legal Services Corporation, to be used specifically to enhance technological capabilities, will allow for the continuation of quality free legal aid to those who need it most.”   

Legal Services of Mid-Florida is one of 27 recipients of 2016 LSC Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling more than $4.2 million.   

Idaho Legal Aid Services Receives $322,919 in Technology Grants

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that Idaho Legal Aid Services will receive a total of $322,919 through the Technology Initiative Grants program to improve online tools and websites for individuals seeking legal aid. The Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations to develop and replicate technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

Idaho Legal Aid Services will use its $251,985 grant to partner with the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction and the Illinois Tech Chicago-Kent College of Law to improve A2J (Access to Justice) Guided Interviews for the legal aid community. A2J Guided Interviews are interfaces that take complex legal information and present it in a straightforward way to self-represented litigants. This project will ensure that the catalog of more than 1,000 A2J Guided Interviews currently available to the legal aid community is easy to use, accurate, and up to date.

A second, $80,934 grant, will support Idaho Legal Aid Services’ work to make legal aid websites in the state more accessible for individuals facing legal issues. The project will make it easier to share and find important information about legal resources. It will also increase legal aid organizations’ online presence and direct more users to relevant legal information.

Representative Raul Labrador (ID-1) applauded the awards. “Our system depends on litigants receiving competent legal assistance,” Labrador said. “These grants provide valuable tools to people representing themselves and help legal aid organizations operate more effectively, improving efficiency in our courts and the quality of justice.”

Idaho Legal Aid Services is one of 27 recipients of 2016 LSC Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling more than $4.2 million.   

Legal Services of North Florida Receives $130,121 Technology Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that Legal Services of North Florida will receive $130,121 through the Technology Initiative Grants program to implement a new telephone system to increase access to services. The Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations to develop and replicate technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

Legal Services of North Florida will use the grant to improve its phone system in order to increase ease of access for clients and improve staff’s ability to obtain clients’ information. The upgraded phone system will use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which uses internet services to send and receive calls. The ultimate goal is to foster a more cohesive system for clients and staff by creating interfaces among the organization’s case management system, SharePoint, Office 365/Outlook, and VoIP.

Representative Gwen Graham (FL-2) applauded the award. “Every American has the right to a fair trial and equal justice under the law. Legal Services of North Florida helps provide that service to some of our most vulnerable citizens,” Graham said. “I congratulate them on this grant and hope it will lead to even greater access to justice for Floridians.”

Legal Services of North Florida is one of 27 recipients of 2016 LSC Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling more than $4.2 million.   

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Receives $356,963 in Technology Grants

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma will receive a total of $356,963 through the Technology Initiative Grants program to help Oklahomans receive the legal help and information they need. The Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations to develop and replicate technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

With the support of a $221,746 grant, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma will develop a statewide online triage program for all Oklahomans seeking civil legal services. The system will address the most common civil legal issues faced by low-income individuals and other vulnerable populations, but will also include legal resources for all Oklahomans. It will identify and recommend the best sources of assistance for an individual’s circumstances, based on variables such as type of legal problem, income, location, and language.

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma will use a second, $135,217 grant, to partner with the Tulsa Family Safety Center to improve outcomes for victims of domestic violence. The project will improve workflow at the Center by consolidating the current series of oral and written interviews into one interview with an advocate.

Representative Tom Cole (OK-4) applauded the award. “I am pleased that Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma has received $356,963 in funding for technology grants that will improve judicial services,” Cole said. “All Oklahomans deserve affordable access to legal services. This grant will help to make affordable access to an attorney a reality.”

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma is one of 27 recipients of 2016 LSC TIG funding totaling more than $4.2 million.   

Memphis Area Legal Services Receives $53,400 Technology Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that Memphis Area Legal Services will receive $53,400 through the Technology Initiative Grants program to help staff more efficiently assist low-income clients with legal issues. The Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations to develop and replicate technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

With the support of the grant, Memphis Area Legal Services will create an online portal allowing legal aid intake staff to conduct guided interviews with clients. Written by attorneys in different areas of the law, the scripts will guide staff in providing case-specific advice to clients.

Representative Steve Cohen (TN-9) applauded the award. “I am pleased the Legal Services Corporation selected Memphis Area Legal Services for a grant to expand access to justice for Memphians,” Cohen said. “Whether people are facing domestic violence, mortgage foreclosure or predatory lending, Memphis Area Legal Services has always been there to provide assistance for those who need help. These funds will help ensure that those who need a lawyer get the legal representation they deserve.”

Memphis Area Legal Services is one of 27 recipients of 2016 LSC TIG funding totaling more than $4.2 million.   

Ohio State Legal Services Receives $854,576 in Technology Grants

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that Ohio State Legal Services Association (OSLSA) will receive a total of $854,576 through the Technology Initiative Grants program to support and enhance LawHelp Interactive, a national online document assembly service used to provide innovative services to clients and self-represented litigants. The Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations like OSLSA in developing and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance.   

OSLSA will use a $808,000 technology grant to ensure that LawHelp Interactive continues to provide a robust and reliable platform for the delivery of legal services by state justice communities. The service helps users fill out complicated legal forms by merely answering a series of questions. LawHelp Interactive is currently used in more than forty states.

A second $46,576 grant will allow OSLSA to create automated documents and court forms specially designed for legal services staff. The goal is to automate more work, freeing up staff to focus on higher level services. This project will also enable clients to assist in the completion of documents.

Senator Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH) applauded the awards. “Ohio State Legal Services Association helps ensure that all Ohioans have access to legal representation and a fair trial. The legal system is complex and the many administrative documents required by courts can be daunting. Through this funding, OSLSA will use technology to guide Ohioans as they fill out legal forms and to automate many of its administrative processes so it can continue its important work fighting for justice.”

OSLSA is one of 27 recipients of 2016 LSC Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling more than $4.2 million.    

South Carolina Legal Services Receives $208,245 in Technology Grants

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that South Carolina Legal Services will receive a total of $208,245 through the Technology Initiative Grants program to develop online tools to improve the delivery of legal services in the state. The Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations to develop and replicate technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

With the support of a $122,000 grant, South Carolina Legal Services is partnering with the University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science to develop and implement an information management system. This project will enable legal services providers to seamlessly store, search, locate, and share documents statewide to enhance and improve client services.

South Carolina Legal Services will use an additional $86,245 grant to develop and distribute online classroom training modules for pro bono attorneys, self-represented litigants, legal aid attorneys, and court personnel. The classrooms will include videos, written materials, and automated interviews to help complete legal forms.

Representative James E. Clyburn (SC-6) applauded the awards. “I want to thank the Legal Services Corporation for their support of South Carolina Legal Services' mission to protect the rights and interests of low-income South Carolinians,” Clyburn said. “Everybody should have full and fair access to justice.”

South Carolina Legal Services is one of 27 recipients of 2016 LSC Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling more than $4.2 million.   

Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut Receives $240,178 in Technology Grants

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut will receive $240,178 through the Technology Initiative Grants program to assist low-income individuals in accessing the legal information they need. The Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations to develop and replicate technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut will use a $88,178 technology grant to enhance its self-help legal website, making it more accessible for users on mobile devices. A second, $152,000 grant, will support improvements to Connecticut RePresent, an interactive website that helps prepare self-represented individuals for court. Statewide Legal Services will modify the RePresent to create jurisdiction-specific versions for clients in Maine and Massachusetts. It will also create a new version to educate clients on how to navigate eviction proceedings in housing court.

Connecticut’s entire congressional delegation applauded the award: 

Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT): “This welcome, necessary grant will significantly help Statewide Legal Services provide critical legal assistance to people who cannot afford an attorney. Access to court is a basic, fundamental right for all Americans and without proper legal representation, many Americans are effectively denied this right. “

Senator Christopher Murphy (CT): “Everyone has a right to equal protection under the law and equal access to the justice system. But too often, financial barriers get in the way, making the system inherently unequal for those without the resources to pay for top attorneys. The Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut helps bridge that gap by providing free legal services to those who need it most. I’m so proud to help secure federal funding that will help them modernize their technology and offer easier-to-use mobile platforms for their clients.”

Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-2): “This technology grant will go a long way to boost the critical work that the Legal Services Corporation carries out on the behalf of Connecticut families. The Legal Services Corporation is an indispensable tool for residents who need legal aid for civil matters but cannot afford the hefty costs on their own.”

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3): “Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut is a critical resource for the most vulnerable of our citizens—ensuring that they have access to their right to competent, committed legal representation. This grant will allow the organization to develop and implement a more functional mobile platform, enabling them to better serve their clients.”

Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-5): “I applaud Legal Services Corporation for recognizing Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut’s admirable work bringing affordable legal assistance to residents across the state. Income should not be an obstacle to any American receiving the legal protection and due process to which they are entitled. These grants will expand Legal Service’s mobile technology, improve their interaction with clients to ensure more specialized assistance, and expand investment in innovative technologies to make legal services more accessible across Connecticut.”

Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4): “I congratulate the Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut for receiving a generous technology grant from the Legal Services Corporation to expand free legal assistance to low-income persons and families in Connecticut. Access to quality legal representation is a requirement for a fairer, more just nation. This grant will go a long way to ensure that our most vulnerable population have that access. I am proud of the work they do in the 4th District and all across Connecticut.”

Rep. John Larson (CT-1): "It is crucial that everyone has access to legal services in a time of need. I applaud Statewide Legal Services for their commitment to ensuring this information reaches the hands of those who need it most. By expanding support for mobile devices, this grant will allow a greater number of people to access vital information."

Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut is one of 27 recipients of 2016 LSC Technology Initiative Grant funding totaling more than $4.2 million.   

Utah Legal Services Receives $202,000 Technology Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that Utah Legal Services will receive $202,000 through the Technology Initiative Grants program to increase the effectiveness of its program administration. The Technology Initiative Grants program supports legal aid organizations to develop and replicate technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality legal assistance. 

Utah Legal Services will use the technology grant to build several new modules in its case management system, LegalServer. Attorneys and staff use LegalServer to collect and organize client data, capture case activities, and other important functions. The new modules will allow Utah Legal Services to use the data already collected to streamline and enhance communications with clients, preserve institutional knowledge, and improve oversight of case work.

Representative Chris Stewart (UT-2) applauded the award. "Under the Constitution, every American has the right to a fair trial and equal justice under the law,” Stewart said. “I appreciate the work that Utah Legal Services does to help some of our most vulnerable citizens. I want to congratulate them for receiving this new grant which will allow for the continuation of quality free legal aid to those who need it most."

Utah Legal Services is one of 27 recipients of 2016 LSC TIG funding totaling more than $4.2 million.   

Click here to see full list of 2016 TIG Awards.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 134 independent non-profit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.