I am pleased to report that our sessions at the TIG Conference on Intake, Triage, and Technology were very successful.
One session reviewed where we are now, with a focus on how court self-help centers decide who gets what help, and how legal aid programs and hotlines are moving to online intake.
The second session, moderated by Karen Lash of DOJ’s Access Initiative, looked at what an integrated intake and triage system might look like in 10 years. It included extensive discussion of the role of research in establishing decision protocols for such a process, as well as research perspectives from Prof Jim Greiner of Harvard, and Susan Ledray from the Minnesota Courts Self-Help system.
A small group then met to start to integrate the ideas raised in those two sessions. Here, however are some thoughts that struck me most powerfully.
- We need a system that is used by everybody to find and get to the help that they need to obtain access to justice.
- The system should provide actual help to everybody.
- The system should be user-friendly, user-oriented, and user controlled (it is to meet their needs, not those of the organizations participating.)
- The system should include user support systems such as online chat.
- The system should actually get people to the resource they need including passing data into intake or information systems and tools — its not just a referral system.
- The system should include such access to all service mechanisms, including courts, legal aid, unbundling, informational websites, document assembly, online chat, pro bono and private lawyer referral systems.
- The system should get people to the highest level of assistance that is available to them, consistent with cost effectiveness.
- The system should use research to be able to ask sufficient questions to make sure that the range of a persons issues are identified and responded to.
- The system should have built into it the case-acceptance criteria, so that there are few “dead” hand-offs.
- The system should be “self-learning” so that it gets better as there is more experience, and the acceptance criteria should be informed by research.
I made brief comments at the session on the 2012 TIG round about what we had talked about. Maybe there will be some TIG grant applications in this area!
Thanks to all for their great ideas in this important discussion. I think this is one of the things that we just have to get right if we are to have a 100% access system.
Please do share more ideas for such a system in the comments.