State Support Wins Self-Represented Litigation Network's "Best Forms" Competition

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The Forms and Technology Working Group of the Self-Represented Litigation Network (SRLN) recently announced the winners of its first ever Best Forms Contest. The group's goals were to recognize civil legal forms that utilize plain language, design, and interview and instruction elements to best advantage and ease from the self-represented litigant's viewpoint, as well as to collect a critical mass of forms as examples for the Forms and Technology section of SRLN.org.

Legal Services State Support is very pleased to announce that our staff were selected for both categories!

The winner of Best Static Form is Elsa Marshall, Education for Justice coordinator with State Support, for the Delegation of Parental Authority form.

The winner of Best Automated Form is Jennifer Singleton, legal/technology projects manager with State Support, for the Motion to Modify Child Support or Spousal Maintenance form.

There were 31 entries from around the country and the Working Group found judging the forms difficult. SRLN leader Katherine Alteneder noted that the contest demonstrated how process simplification goes a long way toward reducing the difficulty that self-represented litigants have when filling out court forms.

The Self-Represented Litigation Network (SRLN) is the only non-profit supporting justice system professionals focused on the question of how best to reform ALL aspects of the legal system (courts, legal aid, the bar and non-legal partners) so that SRLs experience the courts (and indeed the legal system) as a consumer oriented environment guided by the principles of equal protection and due process.

Minnesota Legal Services Coalition Chosen as Host for National ATJ Tech Fellows Program

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Legal Services State Support, a project of the Minnesota Legal Services Coalition, has been chosen as a host for the newly launched ATJ Tech Fellows program. Miguel Willis and a group of Seattle University law students created the summer fellowship program as a way to provide law students around the country with a unique opportunity to work on a range of innovative projects and initiatives aimed to improve the delivery of legal services for low-income Americans. They wanted to equip the next set of leaders with the tools and skills to leverage technology and innovation in addressing our nation’s widening access to justice gap.

In Minnesota, State Support will host a full-time, 10-week fellow to be part of its team. The Fellow's duties will be determined in part by the applicant's areas of interest and relevant skills, and will likely include work on State Support's document assembly interviews using A2J/HotDocs and analyzing and summarizing user data from these interviews. Learn more about the opportunity and how to apply here. Applications close February 15, 2017 at 7:00 pm CST.

State Support Staff to Present at Legal Services Corporation's TIG Conference

On Thursday January 12th, State Support's supervising attorney Mary Kaczorek and Legal/Technology Project Manager Jennifer Singleton will join two national colleagues to present "Using Your Data to Improve Your Projects" at LSC's 2017 Technology Initiative Grants Conference (TIG). The workshop will explore how tools like Google Analytics, Optimizely, and a pilot data warehousing tool through LawHelp Interactive can be used to improve online resources. Examples will be provided from the website world, as well as for online form projects.

This presentation will be streamed via Facebook Live at 2:45 p.m. CT on Thursday, January 12. To participate live, visit LSC’s Facebook page during the conference. Click here to learn more about Facebook Live. Find out more about "Using Data to Improve Your Projects" and other TIG sessions here. #LSCTIG

Online Legal Forms: Minnesota Uses Tech to Democratize Justice

In June, a New York Times essay on the rise of online legal forms brought encouraging validation to Minnesota's legal aid community. Again this month, a Times op-ed called attention to the innovation and growing prevalence of online legal forms, mentioning LawHelp Interactive as part of a "Year of Big Ideas in Social Change." The Minnesota Legal Services Coalition continues to be a national leader in using technology to increase access to civil legal justice, and currently hosts 21 online interviews on the LawHelp Interactive platform, including the recent addition of interactive family law forms for tribal courts.

On Minnesota’s work, Mary Kaczorek, supervising attorney at State Support said, “The free interactive legal forms on LawHelpMN.org help maximize limited resources and expand legal aid’s reach to provide critical help to underserved populations across Minnesota.”