Regular blog readers know that landing my job at Legal Services Corporation, the single largest funder of civil legal aid to people in financial need, was not an accident. The mission of providing representation to those who need it, but can’t afford it, is one that I targeted for over half a decade before getting this position. I’m passionate about the work of our grantees, because there is something about social and economic injustice that offends me at my core, and I consider it my responsibility and my privilege to be able to do work that attempts to alleviate such injustice. That’s my best explanation, but you should hear my boss describe the problem. As a lawyer, he makes the case, but he makes it in plain, clear English, and he makes it powerfully.
The setting of this 13 and a half minute speech is completely appropriate for this blog. The first “Hackcess to Justice” hackathon was held in Boston on August 7th and 8th at the annual American Bar Association meeting. The goal of the hackathon was to create apps that address the needs of people seeking representation or representing themselves in civil courts. The projects are based on the recommendations that came out of the technology summit that LSC held in 2012 and 2013. The report, linked here, is a good — and not too lengthy — read. And the winners creatively met those goals, with apps that help write wills, determine whether you need legal help, and point you to legal resources in a disaster. Robert Ambrogi, one of the three judges, blogged about the winners, too.
I’m proud to work for an organization that not only thinks strategically about how we use technology, but strategize about how the world can use it to address the problems that we were founded to help solve. And I’m very happy to work at a company where the leadership gets it — technology is more than just plumbing; it’s an enabler. Deployed correctly, it can facilitate solutions to extremely challenging problems, such as the severe justice gap in the United States.
Jim says it best, and I can’t recommend enough that you take the quarter of an hour (less, actually) to hear what he has to say.