Hagan and Kimbro: Access Hub Project: Designing new resources for legal service providers

Margaret Hagan has a new post about her and Stephanie Kimbro‘s project: The Access Hub Project: Designing new resources for legal service providers.

Here are excerpts from the post:

I’ve been working alongside Steph Kimbro to do some scoping & groundwork for an Access Hub design — that would be a resource for legal service providers (in self-help & legal aid centers) interested in integrating tech into their practice, & learning best practices for more efficient & quality services. [...]

Steph received an initial ambit through the ABA’s Blueprint Project to create a participatory online platform, which would allow people working in the world of Access to Justice to pull together resources, share ideas, and create a repository of knowledge of what kind of projects have worked (and which ones have failed) in the A2J and legal aid space.

[...] [W]e began with defining ‘use cases’ — to identify what stakeholders were most central to the project, and what functions an Access Hub would help them accomplish. [...]

After which, Steph whittled down to a main use case:

legal aid managers, who direct an access-oriented legal organization, who want to share & seek best practices about service delivery & also are considering integrating more tech into their practice to increase efficiency & quality

[...]

User Requirements for an Access Hub:

  • Easy to access & non-obtrusive [...]
  • Not ‘another frikkin website’ [...]
  • Interactivity is key [...]
  • Customization to local context [...]
  • Give out-of-the-box usable resources [...]
  • Maintenance must be baked in [...]

[...] [W]e’ll be focused in the next month on drafting possible prototypes of an Access Hub. [...]

This project [...] will be aimed mainly at the Legal Service Provider as the main stakeholder, to empower her & help her improve her daily workflow and quality of service.

Below, please find some of my sketches that I’ve been working on — with more developed designs to appear here over the next month.

If you have some experience in this area & have ideas for prototypes, design choices, user/system requirements, or otherwise — please leave feedback or write to us! [...]

To see the sketches and for more details, please see the complete post.

HT @StephKimbro

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Code4Italy@Montecitorio Open Data Hackathon 2014: Video, storify, and resources

Code4Italy@Montecitorio Open Data Hackathon 2014 was held 16-18 May 2014, with an award ceremony on 24 July 2014, at the Italian Chamber of Deputies in Rome.

The event Website, which includes the program, participant descriptions, and links to data sets, is at: dati.camera.it/it/hackathon/

Video of the award ceremony is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfUlhnmJIac

The Twitter hashtag for the event was #code4italy

A storify of photos and Twitter tweets from the event is at: https://storify.com/richards1000/code4italy

According to the video page, the three projects honored at the awards ceremony were:

Here is a description of the event, from the event’s Website:

L’Hackathon Code4Italy@Montecitorio 2014 è un evento rivolto ad esperti di informatica – sviluppatori di software e grafici web – interessati a conoscere e utilizzare i dati aperti prodotti dalla Camera dei deputati relativi alla istituzione e alla attività parlamentare.

L’obiettivo dell’iniziativa è aumentare la conoscenza dei dati aperti parlamentari, che la Camera dei deputati ha messo a disposizione del web già a partire dal 2011, e promuoverne il riuso da parte della comunità degli sviluppatori e di soggetti interessati, offrendo un’occasione per proporre e realizzare applicazioni con essi, e dando seguito all’invito già rivolto nel sito dati.camera.it a proporre applicazioni riutilizzando gli Open Data pubblicati.

L’Hackathon, come avviene di consueto per analoghi eventi, si è svolto in forma competitiva e collaborativa.
Prima della fase di sviluppo di software, è stata prevista una sessione di formazione, dedicata a chi vuole lavorare sui dataset offerti dalla Camera dei deputati, e una fase di presentazione dei progetti per la realizzazione di applicazioni, dando l’opportunità ai partecipanti di tenere un proprio pitch (proposta) per illustrare come i servizi da loro ideati andrebbero a integrarsi con il lavoro dei parlamentari e dello staff, e come in generale l’uso di smart device con applicativi di questo tipo può aiutare anche la società civile a comprendere meglio l’iter parlamentare.

Ai partecipanti è stato consentito sia di collaborare e organizzare le attività in gruppi di lavoro, sia terminare e rifinire gli sviluppi nella successiva settimana, consegnando le soluzioni entro tale termine.
I prodotti consegnati, consistenti in applicazioni basate sul riuso degli Open Data della Camera, sono stati valutati da una Commissione giudicatrice appositamente costituita, che ha individuato i primi tre progetti classificati meritevoli di premio. [...]

Click here for information about other legal hackathons.

HT @monicapalmirani

Posted in Applications, Conference resources, Data sets, Hackathons, Hacking, Storify, Technology developments, Technology tools, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Katz, Bommarito, and Blackman: Predicting the Behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States: A General Approach

Daniel Martin Katz, Michael Bommarito, and Josh Blackman have posted a working paper entitled Predicting the Behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States: A General Approach.

Here is the abstract:

Building upon developments in theoretical and applied machine learning, as well as the efforts of various scholars including Guimerà and Sales-Pardo (2011), Ruger et al. (2004), and Martin et al. (2004), we construct a model designed to predict the voting behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States. Using the extremely randomized tree method first proposed in Geurts et al. (2006), a method similar to the random forest approach developed in Breiman (2001), as well as novel feature engineering, we predict more than sixty years of decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States (1953-2013). Using only data available prior to the date of decision, our model correctly identifies 69.7% of the Court’s overall affirm and reverse decisions and correctly forecasts 70.9% of the votes of individual justices across 7,700 cases and more than 68,000 justice votes. Our performance is consistent with the general level of prediction offered by prior scholars. However, our model is distinctive as it is the first robust, generalized, and fully predictive model of Supreme Court voting behavior offered to date. Our model predicts six decades of behavior of thirty Justices appointed by thirteen Presidents. With a more sound methodological foundation, our results represent a major advance for the science of quantitative legal prediction and portend a range of other potential applications, such as those described in Katz (2013).

The code used in the study is available on GitHub: https://github.com/mjbommar/scotus-predict

HT @computational

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ZoningCheck: Zoning regulation lookup service

ZoningCheck, an online zoning regulation lookup service, has been launched by OpenCounter.

Here is a description, from the service’s About page:

ZoningCheck is a zoning lookup tool that helps business owners, real estate developers, and interested citizens quickly understand the zoning clearance of their land use. ZoningCheck aims to answer the basic but complicated question: “where is my project permitted?” [...]

ZoningCheck leverages a geospatial rules engine to calculate zoning clearances across all of the zoning districts and zoning overlays in the jurisdiction. ZoningCheck also calculates use-specific requirements—like whether a restaurant will serve alcohol, or whether a bakery will have a retail space—which can change the clearance determination of the base land use. By wrapping these calculations in a beautiful user interface, ZoningCheck provides an intuitive guide to complex zoning regulations. [...]

ZoningCheck data is imported directly from the city’s municipal code and GIS resources [...]

ZoningCheck was made possible by an investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and through the support of the Code for America Accelerator. You can learn more about our story at www.opencounter.us [...]

Alex Howard has a recent post about the service, at TechRepublic: ZoningCheck puts computable municipal codes to good use.

HT @digiphile

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Morozov on algorithmic regulation

There seems to be much discussion of Evgeny Morozov’s new op-ed article on algorithmic regulation, entitled The rise of data and the death of politics, The Guardian / The Observer, 19 July 2014.

The conclusion:

Algorithmic regulation, whatever its immediate benefits, will give us a political regime where technology corporations and government bureaucrats call all the shots. [...]

For more details, please see the complete article.

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Colbran et al.: The role of digital flashcards in legal education: Theory and potential

Stephen Colbran, Anthony Gilding, and Samuel Colbran have published The role of digital flashcards in legal education: Theory and potential, European Journal of Law and Technology, 5(1) (2014).

Here is the abstract:

This article describes, evaluates and reflects upon the potential use of digital flashcards in legal education using traditional cards expressed in digital format and more interactive flashcards taking advantage of rich media and Web 2.0 technologies. A taxonomy of digital flashcards is developed together with a discussion on how they may be used in legal education. An analysis of where digital flashcards sit within the HoTel, Biggs and Tang SOLO and Atkinson SOLE learning theory frameworks is presented. A new free cloud-based flashcard tool, FlashCram is outlined enabling the easy assembly and sharing of digital flashcards. The article concludes by showing how the traditional flashcard may be reinvented in the digital age into a useful tool for legal education.

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Law Schools, Technology, and Access to Justice Conference, 17-19 July 2014: Storify and resources

A conference entitled Law Schools, Technology, and Access to Justice, was held 17-19 July 2014 at the University of Missouri Kansas City, in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

The conference was sponsored by the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law, the University of Massachusetts School of Law, and the Kauffman Foundation.

The conference Website is at: http://law.umkc.edu/lawtecha2j/

The conference program is at: http://law.umkc.edu/lawtecha2j/program.asp

Twitter hashtags for the event include #umkca2j and #umkclegaltech

Click here for a storify of images and Twitter tweets from the event.

Dazza Greenwood has posted photos from the event here and here.

HT @computational

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