Legal technology to enable access to justice is one of the main topics at ABA / NLADA Equal Justice Conference 2013, being held 8-11 May 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
The Twitter hashtag for the conference appears to be #ejcstl
Professor Dr. Julie Macfarlane of the University of Windsor has published The National Self-Represented Litigants Project: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Self-Represented Litigants: Final Report (2013).
The report states the findings of an empirical study of the needs of pro se litigants in courts in Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario.
Findings are based on one-on-one or focus-group interviews with “259 self-represented litigants” (SRLs) and 107 legal service providers.
Although the sample is not a probability sample, “the characteristics of the SRL sample are broadly representative of the general Canadian population.”
The principal findings regarding information are as follows (I’ve added bulleted lists for ease of reading):
Regarding court forms:
The most common complaints include:
- difficulty knowing which form(s) to use;
- apparently inconsistent information from court staff/judges;
- difficulty with the language used on forms; and
- the consequences of mistakes including adjournments and more wasted time and stress.
Regarding online legal resources:
[SRLs] identified the following weaknesses:
- an emphasis on substantive legal information and an absence of information on practical tasks like:
- filing or serving,
- advice on negotiation or a strategy for talking to the other side,
- presentation techniques, or [...]
- legal procedure;
- [online legal resources] often directed them to other sites (sometimes with broken links) with inconsistent information; and
- multiplicity of sites with no means of differentiating which is the most “legitimate”.
Cynthia Eagan [a member of the research team] found many of the same problems when she audited a selection of on-line Court Guides [... as well as problems concerning:]
- the reading levels of some of this material (as high as 13.5), and
- the heavy use of jargon and unexplained legal terms.
Regarding legal information for SRLs:
- SRL’s in the study frequently described themselves as seeking “guidance” rather than “direction”.
- The most common source of legal information for SRL’s are court staff [...]
- [SRLs] complained about the restrictions on the time and scope of information that these staff can offer, because of:
- the limitation on their providing “legal advice”[...] or [...]
- the sheer volume of people they are dealing with.
- The distinction between legal information/legal advice which lies at the heart of the job descriptions of staff working on the court counters and in information services is consistently complained about by both SRL’s and staff, as at best unclear and at worst practically unworkable [...]
Regarding access to legal services:
[...] many SRL’s sought some type of “unbundled” legal services from legal counsel; for example:
- assistance with document review,
- writing a letter, or
- appearing in court [...]
Please see the comments to this post for events and other information related to the report.
The event is being held in conjunction with AT&T Mobile App Hackathon.
The top prize for best legal app is $5,000.
The Twitter account for the event is @LegalHackMiami
The Twitter hashtag for the event was #atthack
The event has a Facebook page.
Here is a partial description of the event, from the event’s eventbrite page:
This special Mobile App Hackathon focused on legal apps is an event produced by the AT&T Developer Program in coordination with Legal Hackathon Miami, Lalchandani Simon PL, Pipeline, and New Frontier Nomads, that is designed for attendees (technical & non-technical) to build apps/mobile apps, get fed, compete for prizes across different categories and most importantly: meet new people and scout for teammates to work on new or current projects. Our hackathon will introduce you to the latest cutting edge tools to help deploy your own app with a website backend, fully hosted in the cloud.
Legal Hackathon Miami (LHM) will bring together the brightest minds from law and technology to develop applications that benefit the legal profession. Technology in the legal sector has needlessly lagged behind other industries. The LHM was developed to change that by bringing together attorneys and developers to create the next generation of cutting edge legal software. Sponsored by national and local leaders in law and tech, the LHM will give development teams access to top attorneys to brainstorm concepts and ideas as they design these valuable applications.
We Supply: Quick presentations and code samples that help to bootstrap your hacking, food to keep you going, and caffeine to keep you awake. Along with technical senseis to assist you in building faster, smarter, and with new tools.
You Bring: Your laptop, skills & ideas. Come with a collaborative, team focused mindset and/or team up in advance on Twitter/Facebook/Google+ via the #atthack hashtag. Whether you are a backend person and code in Ruby/PHP/.NET or are a designer and only work with Illustrator, you are invited to attend this event. Every group needs a good balance of talent and your development skills are needed! [...]
The Parliaments on the Net XI Conference is being held 2-3 May 2013 in London, England, UK.
The conference is being live-blogged at http://potn2013.tumblr.com/
The Twitter hashtag for the conference is #potn2013
The conference focuses ‘on how technology is changing the landscape of the legal profession and the law more broadly. The conference will bring together leading thinkers, entrepreneurs, investors and technologists that are experimenting and actively working to re-architect the future of the law. If you’re of a similar mind, we’d love to have you there.’
The Twitter hashtag for the conference is #futurelaw
The conference Chair was Tim Hwang.
The legal informatics-oriented panels at the conference include:
Professor Dr. Daniel Martin Katz of Michigan State University and the ReInventLaw Lab will give the closing keynote address.
The conference is sponsored by CodeX: The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics.
Please see the comments to this post for additional resources related to the conference.
This post links to resources related to CODR 2013: Conference on Online Dispute Resolution, held 19 April 2013 at Stanford Law School.
The Twitter hashtag for the conference was #CODR2013
Some papers from the conference are available at http://blogs.law.stanford.edu/codr2013/papers/
Here is the conference agenda (from here):
Panel 1: The Impact of ODR on the Practice of Law
Ron Dolin, Lecturer in Law, Stanford Law School: “Impact of ODR on Small Claims”
Richard S. Granat, Director, Center for Law Practice Technology and CEO/Founder, LawMediaLabs, Inc.: “Software-Assisted Online Divorce Mediation”
Ayelet Sela, JSD Candidate, Stanford Law School: “ODR System Design: Lessons from Research and Practice”
Panel 2: The Technology of ODR
James Ring, CEO, Fair Outcomes, Inc.: “Using Online Commitment Mechanisms to Manage and Resolve Legal Claims“
Loic Coutelier, Director of Arbitration and Product Manager, Modria.com: “Three Practical Applications of ODR Innovations”
Jin Ho Verdonschot, Justice Sector Advisor, The Netherlands: “The Future of Courts: A New Procedure for Neighbor Disputes in the Netherlands”
Moderator: Roland Vogl, Lecturer in Law and Executive Director, Stanford Program in Law, Science and Technology
Panel 3: ODR in the International Arena
Colin Rule, CEO, Modria.com: “Online Dispute Resolution and Internet Justice“
Vikki M. Rogers, Director, Institute of International Commercial Law, Pace Law School: “Managing Disputes in the Online Global Marketplace: Reviewing the Progress of UNCITRAL’s Working Group III on ODR“
Amy J. Schmitz, Professor of Law, University of Colorado School of Law: “ODR to Address American Exceptionalism in Arbitration“
Moderator: Janet Martinez, Senior Lecturer in Law and Director, Gould Negotiation & Mediation Program, Stanford Law School
For videos of this conference, please see the comments to this post.
This post contains links to tweets and other resources from the 2013 Georgetown Iron Tech Lawyer Competition: Access to Justice Edition, held 17 April 2013 at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, USA.
The event was organized by Professor Tanina Rostain and Adjunct Professor Roger V. Skalbeck, both of Georgetown University Law Center, as part of their practicum entitled Technology, Innovation and Legal Practice Practicum – Access to Justice.
Here is a description of the event, from the event Website:
Students in the [practicum] have heard from a range of experts on topics relating to law practice innovation enabled by technology. Students work in small teams for a legal service organization to develop a platform, application or automated system that increases access to justice and/or improves the effectiveness of legal representation. These organizations include civil rights organizations, direct service providers and government agencies. The students will be presenting their final projects in Georgetown Law’s “Iron Tech Lawyer Competition.” A panel of judges, made up of two Georgetown Law faculty members and two outside experts, will decide which is the best platform, program or expert system designed in the class.
The Twitter hashtag for the event was #IronTechLawyer
Video of the event will soon be available here, according to a notice on that page.
Neota Logic, a sponsor of the event, wrote a preliminary post about the event entitled less than one month until iron tech lawyer competition at georgetown law center.
For additional resources about the event, please see the comments to this post.
The main page for the initiative appears to be called Good law – Detailed guidance – GOV.UK.
The Twitter hashtag for the event, and for other Good Law activities, is #goodlaw
On 16 April 2013 the Office published a new report entitled When laws become too complex: Review by Office of the Parliamentary Counsel into the causes of complex legislation, which is also called the OPC Good Law Report or the Good Law Report.
For more information about the Good Law Initiative, please see Good law – Detailed guidance, or Good Law Initiative: UK Government Effort to Make Legislation More Effective and Accessible.
A Google+ hangout on the topic of The Government Role in Free Access to Legal Information, will take place today, 16 April 2013, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern ( -4:00 p.m. UTC), and will be hosted by Tom Bruce of the Legal Information Institute and Dr. Joshua Tauberer of GovTrack.
The Twitter hashtag for the hangout appears to have been #freelaw
Here is a description of LawWithoutWalls:
LawWithoutWalls is a part-virtual, educational collaboratory created by Michele DeStefano and Michael Bossone at the University of Miami School of Law. It brings together a transdisciplinary group of people and institutions from around the world to engage on the burning issues facing the legal profession, collaboratively solve legal problems, and develop the skillsets needed to thrive in the new, global legal marketplace.
The 2013 Conposium presentations — during which “teams present their Projects of Worth (and prototypes) to a panel of judges” — included a number on new legal information or communication systems.
The Twitter hashtag for the event was #lwow2013