Posted November 16, 20238:33 pm
WASHINGTON—The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that it is awarding 33 Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) totaling $5.1 million. The TIG program supports civil legal aid organizations in leveraging technology to deliver high-quality legal assistance to low-income Americans. This year, 29 organizations are receiving TIG funding.
Established in 2000, the TIG program distributes grants annually to LSC-funded legal services providers. LSC has awarded 892 grants since the program’s inception—totaling more than $86 million to fund legal technology projects. Grant recipients have used this funding to improve client intake efficiency, streamline case management, enhance cybersecurity, and create legal information websites and self-help legal resources.
“Utilizing technology to create innovative tools empowers legal aid organizations to increase their capacity to provide crucial resources to low-income Americans,” said LSC President Ron Flagg. “The Technology Initiative Grants support projects that improve the delivery of legal services and information to people who need help navigating civil legal problems like housing, consumer and family issues.”
This year’s TIG recipients are taking several innovative approaches to leveraging technology to strengthen their organizations and expand access to legal services. Arizona’s Community Legal Services is installing self-service legal kiosks where people in rural areas can access online legal resources, attend video conferences and print important documents. Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles is developing artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities within its LegalServer case management system to reduce administrative burdens on staff by automating key documentation processes. Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York will create a centralized online intake portal for eviction defense referrals for six New York legal aid organizations. Philadelphia Legal Assistance will build an innovative website that assists low-income Americans struggling with student loan debt.
Members of Congress congratulated legal aid organizations in their states and districts on receiving TIG funding.
“Every American deserves access to a fair justice system, regardless of income or zip code,” said Senator Joe Manchin. “Legal Aid of West Virginia is an invaluable organization for the Mountain State, and I am pleased that they have been awarded $138,000 in federal funding to invest in new technology to increase access to legal services for West Virginians. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue advocating for resources to help low-income individuals and families navigate our judicial system.”
“Kansas Legal Services is a fantastic organization that provides devoted legal aid to vulnerable communities across Kansas, helping those who need it most and otherwise may have no one else there for them,” said Senator Roger Marshall. “I applaud this grant and look forward to seeing how these funds will amplify the work that KLS is doing, and expand its reach to even more Kansans in need.”
“I’m very proud of the work that the Philadelphia Legal Assistance Center and Legal Services Corporation do to make sure that every Pennsylvanian has a fair shot in our legal system, whether they can afford to hire a lawyer or not,” said Senator John Fetterman. “This important funding will kick off a new program to help Pennsylvanians struggling with student loan debt understand their repayment and forgiveness options. For so many Pennsylvanians, being able to manage or reduce student loan debt is truly life-changing, and I’m grateful for this investment in our commonwealth.”
“Every Michigander should have access to legal representation, no matter their income. I am pleased that federal funding will help protect the rights of Michiganders afforded to them under the law,” said Representative Dan Kildee. “I will continue working to bring federal funding home to mid-Michigan.”
Details on each grantee organization - including The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland - are listed below. More information on the TIG program is available here on LSC’s website.
Community Legal Services (CLS)
CLS will use this funding to install self-service legal kiosks for Arizonans in rural areas. The kiosks will provide referrals to legal aid programs, access to online legal resources and educational materials, video conferencing for remote assistance and a printer/scanner to complete or transmit documents. The kiosks will be placed in public spaces like courts, libraries and community centers.
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA)
LAFLA will develop AI capabilities within its LegalServer case management system. The organization plans to use AI to help analyze case data to generate summaries, identify additional legal needs and recommend appropriate case outcomes—leveraging AI technology to reduce administrative burdens on staff by automating key documentation processes.
Central California Legal Services (CCLS)
CCLS will conduct an assessment of its Legal Advice Line intake system to identify improvements in client services and technology. The project will analyze intake design, alignment with broader services strategy and staff training needs. The assessment will provide recommendations to upgrade systems and workflows.
Colorado Legal Services (CLS)
CLS will develop Colorado Equal Justice Helper, a comprehensive self-help website to guide users to the most current legal information in common issue areas, in collaboration with the Colorado Access to Justice Commission. This online resource will provide simplified legal information and guided tools to help users address their urgent civil legal needs.
CLS will analyze its current administrative processes and identify opportunities for improved efficiency. CLS will also examine its related cybersecurity practices. The result will be a report with a roadmap for optimizing CLS's workflows through digitization, automation and integration of its IT systems.
Legal Services Corporation of Delaware (LSCD)
LSCD will strengthen its Eviction Defense Project by developing online self-help resources on tenant rights. The program will create legal action plans and self-advocacy tools to help tenants understand their defenses, request repairs and address other housing issues. The project will expand Delaware's statewide legal help website, DELegalHelpLink.org, with new functionality to publish and manage the action plans.
District of Columbia
Neighborhood Legal Services Program of the District of Columbia (NLSP)
NLSP will expand on work performed under previous TIG funding to refine the Clio case management system. The goal is to enhance Clio's functionality in areas like intake, reporting and grants management to better meet the needs of legal services organizations. By expanding Clio’s capabilities, it aims to increase competition and innovation, which can drive down costs and provide legal services groups improved technology solutions.
Legal Services of North Florida (LSNF)
LSNF will develop an integrated scheduling and calendaring system to streamline client appointment management. The system will allow users to easily schedule, modify and cancel appointments through multiple channels, including online, email, text and phone. The integrated system aims to empower staff and clients by providing customizable, convenient appointment self-management.
LSNF will improve its client and stakeholder feedback system through a comprehensive assessment. The project seeks to identify strengths and weaknesses in current methods, implement targeted strategies to increase response rates and establish ongoing monitoring practices. By optimizing survey distribution, questions, incentives and follow-up, LSNF aims to enhance feedback used to improve services, address disparities and build community trust.
Bay Area Legal Services (BALS)
BALS will conduct a business process analysis of their Centralized Telephone Intake operations, including screening, triage, routing and access procedures. An independent consultant will analyze methods like process mapping, surveys and focus groups. The goals are identifying opportunities to improve applicant experience, streamline staff workflows and increase system efficiencies.
Atlanta Legal Aid Society
Atlanta Legal Aid will conduct data analysis to identify service disparities and target outreach to organizations in underserved communities. A portal will be developed for these organizations to make intake referrals and access tailored self-help resources using AI. For individuals seeking legal aid, guided online interviews will provide resources for non-priority issues. Additional legal educational content, including presentations and action plans, will be created based on identified needs.
Atlanta Legal Aid will expand its prior TIG project, improving accessibility of the Spanish language legal aid website, AyudaLegalGeorgia.org. The previous project translated content, enabled intake in Spanish, created internal translation tools and added a triage portal, which significantly grew Spanish-speaking site traffic. New improvements to the site will add explainer videos, optimize the mobile-user experience and improve accessibility.
Legal Aid Chicago
Legal Aid Chicago will partner with Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) to improve the statewide Get Legal Help system. Past TIGs created DIY step-by-step legal guides and improved triage tools on the ILAO website. This new project will leverage those advances to further increase referrals to legal aid and provide tailored legal information during triage. The partners will incorporate key components of Michigan's What's Next Text project, including user-centric design and robust analysis.
Legal Aid Chicago will conduct a business process analysis of their various intake pathways to improve service delivery. Findings will inform a roadmap for enhancing systems, policies, training, and services. The analysis aims to develop integrated solutions for maximizing resources and service quality by holistically assessing the organization’s complex intake landscape. Additionally, Legal Aid Chicago will coordinate the efforts of three other TIG Intake Assessment projects.
Land of Lincoln Legal Aid
Land of Lincoln Legal Aid will conduct a business process analysis of its intake system to identify opportunities for improvement. The goals are increasing efficiency, accuracy and intake consistency, while enhancing applicant experience. Recommendations will inform workflow changes, technology optimization, protocols and training.
Kansas Legal Services (KLS)
KLS will build on a prior successful TIG project which upgraded 17 legal aid websites to the web content management system Drupal 9. The prior upgrade modernized the legal aid websites, boosted KLS' traffic by over 25% and achieved its objective of creating more accessible, user-friendly sites with robust analytics. This new grant project will further enhance the Drupal capabilities on the legal aid websites, including creating a new theme and leveraging AI technology to assess and simplify legal information.
Legal Aid of the Bluegrass (LABG)
LABG will make improvements to the statewide legal information website, kyjustice.org. A previous TIG grant funded evaluation of the website, identifying opportunities to strengthen search engine optimization (SEO) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) compliance. This new project will enhance the site’s SEO, improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities, and expand its content by integrating new self-help resources, including self-help guides, document templates and self-help videos.
Acadiana Legal Service Corporation
ALSC will conduct a cybersecurity audit to ensure its systems are not vulnerable to data breaches or cyber-attacks. The project will include an audit of ALSC’s technology infrastructure to identify weaknesses and provide recommendations to address those vulnerabilities and enhance overall security.
Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) of the Boston Bar Association
VLP of the Boston Bar Association will conduct a business process analysis of their intake system to identify opportunities to increase efficiency and enhance services, including those provided by pro bono attorneys. Through this project, VLP will improve applicant experience, maximize clients served given limited resources, reduce staff burden and facilitate pro bono referrals. By holistically evaluating pain points in current workflows, staffing and technologies, the analysis aims to develop targeted solutions for streamlining intake and referrals.
Lakeshore Legal Aid (LLA)
LLA will upgrade the JusticeServer case management system to improve intake and foster more effective advocate-client communication. The project includes developing customizable workflows for JusticeServer’s Intake Wizard that would streamline intake based on responses to relevant questions and upgrade the texting feature to display message threads like SMS, improving response times.
Legal Services of Eastern Michigan (LSEM)
LSEM’s Fair Housing Center (LSEM FHC) developed and launched a mobile-friendly web application for managing fair housing testing using prior TIG funding. The application allows testers to submit accurate, timely reports from mobile devices. LSEM FHC has implemented the application program-wide with positive feedback. This new funding will expand free access to this successful application to other centers working to advance fair housing.
Michigan Indian Legal Services (MILS)
MILS will conduct a technology assessment and security audit to address infrastructure and staffing challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. The goals include leveraging technology to improve staff collaboration and workflows, while enhancing security and data protection. The project will evaluate systems and functions like backups, malware prevention and remote access. It will also assess IT staffing needs and update policies and training.
Justice North (formerly Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota)
Justice North will develop an efficient, integrated grants management system. The project will implement interconnected solutions for tracking deadlines, allocated cases, grant spending and progress toward deliverables. Outcomes include improving real-time visibility into grant requirements and performance and facilitating efficient resource allocation.
Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS)
SMRLS received a prior TIG to integrate the document automation software Gavel (formerly Documate) with its LegalServer case management system. This automated form filling and creation increases the efficiency and accuracy of document drafting, expands service capacity, enables form sharing with other legal aid organizations, and demonstrates the benefits of automation. With this additional funding, SMRLS will expand its library of automated forms and add new integration capacity.
Mid-Missouri Legal Services Corporation (MMLS)
MMLS will implement an automated scheduling system and document-sharing solution to improve its intake process. This includes integrating automatic scheduling into online/phone intake and implementing secure document uploads. The project will increase access to services by removing intake barriers such as delays in the callback system and obtaining applicant documents. Solutions will be designed for accessibility and to protect domestic violence survivors.
Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)
MLSA will develop automated texting systems to provide legal information and collect outcomes data for clients who receive legal advice and court Self-Help Center users. The Montana What's Next Text project will provide step-by-step guidance and resources through text messaging workflows based on user responses. By providing accessible, timely assistance and enabling outcomes tracking, the project will help underserved litigants better understand and respond to complex legal issues.
Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York
LASMNY will develop an online intake portal for eviction defense referrals between six New York legal aid providers. The portal aims to direct applicants to the appropriate provider and prioritize urgent cases to ensure timely assistance. Appointment scheduling, automated triage and self-help resources will also be incorporated. The portal will prevent applicants from slipping through the cracks and enable better coordination of eviction defense services statewide.
Legal Services of North Dakota (LSND)
LSND will analyze and streamline its client intake system to improve accessibility and service delivery. The project will examine the current intake process, identify inefficiencies, map workflows, engage stakeholders, design an optimized system, create an implementation plan and establish evaluation metrics. The grant objectives include reducing wait times, ensuring equitable access, eliminating redundancies and enhancing productivity.
The Legal Aid Society will develop project management functionality within the LegalServer case management system to better organize, track and assess progress toward their strategic goals. Dashboards and reports will visualize what work is being done by whom and the degree of progress. This project will facilitate managing work at a macro-level to inform organizational resource allocation and strategic decisions.
Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA)
PLA will launch StudentDebtSolve.org to help low-income individuals navigate and eliminate student loan debt. The program will partner with Upsolve, an online bankruptcy nonprofit, to create tools, content and an online community focused on debt relief options. Users will be screened for eligibility for remedies like loan forgiveness programs and bankruptcy discharge. The site will raise awareness of relief programs and provide guided assistance for qualified borrowers to pursue student debt elimination.
West Tennessee Legal Services (WTLS)
WTLS will develop a statewide data repository and predictive analytics model through collaboration between legal aid providers and Vanderbilt University. Historical case data will be compiled into a centralized data repository. Vanderbilt will leverage AI to create algorithms that identify trends and predict civil legal needs. The project will leverage data science and AI to gain actionable insights that improve understanding of community needs, service delivery targeting and the cost-effectiveness of legal interventions.
Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET)
LAET will migrate its servers and files to Microsoft 365 cloud tools like SharePoint and OneDrive. This transition will improve the program’s fragmented knowledge management and storage systems. LAET seeks to modernize systems, consolidate information, facilitate teamwork, organize institutional knowledge and provide a seamless client experience across its service area by moving to the cloud.
Legal Aid of West Virginia (LAWV)
LAWV’s grant project will integrate the LegalServer case management system with Docassemble, a document assembly platform. Pre-populating client data from LegalServer into Docassemble interviews will streamline completing court forms like divorce and custody petitions and save advocates substantial time. Completed forms will also be stored back into LegalServer for easy document management.