ERIC Number: ED471045
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Equal Justice and the Digital Revolution: Using Technology To Meet the Legal Needs of Low-Income People.
This report describes one group of nonprofit organizations that provide free civil legal assistance to qualifying low-income people. Between 1997-2001, legal services programs made significant strides in using technology to improve services. In the mid-1990s, they began using new technologies on an increasingly regular basis. However, few had their own web sites, and very few included significant amounts of legal or practice information for staff and/or clients. Less than half made full use of e-mail or computerized research tools, and fewer could access the Internet from their desktop computers. From 1997-2001, the Project for the Future of Equal Justice made concerted efforts to help legal services programs improve their use of new technologies. Activities included establishing a Web site, providing extensive training and education, and supporting increased funding. In 2002, almost every legal services advocate has desktop access to the Internet and e-mail. Virtually all legal aid programs use sophisticated case management software, and many use document assembly software to generate routine correspondence and pleadings. Most programs have a Web site. Recommendations to help the legal services community improve its use of technology include broadening the funding base for technology-related work, creating a culture of information sharing, and evaluating the use of new technologies. (SM)
Descriptors: Access to Computers, Access to Information, Computers, Electronic Mail, Information Technology, Internet, Legal Aid, Low Income Groups
Center for Law and Social Policy, 1616 P Street, N.W., Suite150, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-328-5140; Fax: 202-328-5195; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.clasp.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Open Society Inst., New York, NY.; Ford Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Center for Law and Social Policy, Washington, DC.; National Legal Aid and Defender Association, Chicago, IL.