My new article, entitled Open, Generative, and User Centered: The Potential of SMS-Based Legal Technology for Development, has been published in Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, 6(1), 63-68 (2011), doi: 10.1162/INOV_a_00058. (Click here for an open access version of the article.) Here is a summary:
For those desiring to create user-centered means of improving access to justice for low-income citizens of developing countries, SMS-based systems seem extremely promising. Development of such systems seems consistent with several trends in legal technology, including the unbundling of legal services, the empowering of legal clients, the prioritizing of citizens’ legal information needs and access capabilities in the design process, and the use of open source software. Further, legal-practice systems rooted in text-message technology could be extended to encompass a range of innovative law-related services and functions, including interactive document creation, e-filing of court documents, information retrieval, survey data collection, and online conferral with non-lawyers who possess relevant legal knowledge. By “meet[ing clients] where they are” and cultivating open systems, developers of open-source, SMS-based legal technologies such as mLegal exhibit great potential to enhance access to justice for low-income individuals in developing nations.
The article is a response to: Sean McDonald, Esq., The Case for mLegal, Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, 6(1), 41-62 (2011), doi: 10.1162/INOV_a_00057 (Click here for open access version). Many thanks to Sean for the opportunity to contribute this article.