Legal Services Corporation Partnering with Access to Justice Technology Fellows to Expand Program

November 27, 2017

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the country’s largest funder of civil legal aid programs for low-income people, announced today that it has partnered with the 2018 Access to Justice Technology Fellows (ATJ Tech Fellows) program to expand the summer fellows program, designed to equip “the next generation of future lawyers with the skills and competencies to better ensure access to justice.”

ATJ Tech Fellows, a Seattle University School of Law-affiliated fellows program, was launched in 2017 and connects law students with civil legal services organizations for an immersive, 10-week, full-time, paid project-based placement. Students spend the summer leveraging technology, data, and design as they develop solutions to address barriers that prevent low-income Americans from receiving legal help. The fellows program also provides skills training, mentorship, advising, leadership development, and collaborative virtual teaming activities.

“We want to provide all law students practical exposure and experience in understanding technology’s application to and its impact on improving the delivery of legal services in order to address the complex challenges of our nation's huge civil justice gap.” said Miguel Willis, founder and Director of the ATJ Tech Fellows program. “We are excited to partner with the Legal Services Corporation to expand and grow the ATJ Tech Fellows program. This partnership will undoubtedly strengthen the pipeline of future lawyers equipped to harness technological innovation to tackle the full breadth of problems facing our civil justice system.”

The partnership will support funding for 21 positions placed at the recently announced LSC Technology Initiative Grant (TIG) recipient organizations to help develop cutting-edge technologies for improving efficiency and providing greater access to high-quality legal assistance for low-income Americans. The TIG program supports legal innovation projects that explore new ways of serving eligible clients, to build the programs' capacities, and to support the efforts of pro bono attorneys.

Students will pursue a number of innovative projects through this unique collaboration, such as creating interactive legal forms for self-represented litigants,  enhancing an online statewide “access portal” with a chatbot feature, and producing online resources for veterans and military families confronting legal problems.

“This collaboration places smart, creative, and entrepreneurial law students with legal aid programs that are developing new technologies to serve low-income people,” said Jim Sandman, President of the Legal Services Corporation. “It also exposes the law student fellows to the needs of people who cannot afford to pay for legal assistance and will help cultivate a new generation of access-to-justice advocates.”

The 2018 ATJ Tech Fellows application period officially opens on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 and the deadline to apply is Friday, February 2, 2018. The program is open to all 1st and 2nd year law students interested in public interest. To learn more, please visit https://www.atjtechfellows.org/

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 133 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

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