Legal Aid HackathonShows the Coming Change in Access to Justice Culture is Enormous

I love it.

Before the TIG conference, there was a legal aid Hackathon.  Here is the presentation that summarized it.  Astonishing.

This slide is my own favorite, and self-explanatory.


Other projects included a write clearly tool, a legal check-up tool, legal aid grants open data standard, knowledge management, and justice hub.

All fascinating and exciting.

But the really big point is the cultural transformation that is starting to happen within the legal aid community.  Almost all of these are not “new” ideas, in the sense that they have never come up in a brainstorm.  Some have even been the subject of prior TIG grant applications.  But they show a new level of creativity and concrete vision that sees tech as fully integrated into — or rather the leader in integrating and transforming into capacity for 100%.  That makes this an important cultural change moment.

Now actual steps are happening.  And look at who is making them happen.


I do not know whether I am more embarrassed or delighted to report how few of the people in the room I know.  A new generation with new energy and productivity, not just for tech but for an integrated access to justice vision.

But more importantly, these are not the traditional power holders, or “old lions” of legal aid.  These are the new doers.

That is why it is in rooms like this that the access to justice revolution is happening.

I invite of any of the hack groups to please write a guest post for this blog on their project, now or as their project moves forward.  Regardless of this, groups should feel free to reach out to me if they think I might be of any conceptual help.

I hope that hackathons like this will become a routine feature of every ATJ conference, and that there will be a system for quick and small TIG grants to facilitate immediate action on good ideas, not constrained by the length of the funding cycle.



About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
This entry was posted in 100% Access Strategy and Campaign, Legal Aid, LSC, SRL Statistics, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Legal Aid HackathonShows the Coming Change in Access to Justice Culture is Enormous

  1. Gwen Daniels says:

    This hackathon was TIG funded (thanks LSC!). It is just one component of a 2 year Drupal in legal aid community building grant. We budgeted for 10 participants…and had 31. We would love to do it again next year. I’d be happy to write a guest post on the Houston AI module I worked on and will continue to develop.

  2. Claudia Johnson says:

    Another important thing to notice is the diversity of the group. Rather than being homogeneous in race, ethnicity and gender as legal services and legal tech tends to be, it was a more diverse group. This is encouraging, because through diversity you get excellence, and there is a growing group of diverse voices in the legal tech community that needs to be included and supported.

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