Strategic Initiatives: 2019 – 2021
During the course of its 2019-2021 strategic plan, the Lawyers Trust Fund will undertake initiatives in each of the key areas identified below.
- Awareness, Engagement & Empowerment: LTF will identify cost-effective, accessible ways to educate low-income individuals about their legal rights and empower them with tools to avoid legal problems or to pursue remedies when they occur.
- Collaboration & Coordination: LTF will be a catalyst for inter-agency collaboration and for the coordination of services, with the goals of allocating limited legal-aid resources most efficiently and helping individuals in need find and access the most appropriate source of help.
- Diversity & Inclusion: LTF will convene legal aid stakeholders to identify opportunities to promote diversity and inclusion, and make resources available to support the efforts of individual organizations and the community as a whole.
- Efficiency & Effectiveness: LTF will assist legal aid organizations by providing high-level training and guidance on issues related to legal technology; providing funds to acquire consulting services to identify challenges and recommend solutions; and/or providing funds to obtain and implement new technological tools.
- Future-State Pilot Projects: LTF will continue to invest in pilot projects (g., Rentervention) that have the potential to provide appropriate levels of service to more clients at a lower cost, with outcomes equal to or better than traditional delivery methods.
- Geographic Equity: LTF will work to ensure equitable access to legal aid services and other sources of legal assistance to low-income households throughout the state of Illinois.
- Resource Development: LTF will help the legal aid system increase the amount of funding available through community-wide efforts aimed at resource development, as well as targeted investments to help individual organizations boost their fundraising.
For each calendar year covered by the strategic plan, LTF will adopt an implementation plan that defines the specific initiatives to be carried out during that year. The projects that have been approved for implementation in 2019 are set forth below.
Implementation Initiatives for 2019
|Automated Document E-Filing Project||Illinois Legal Aid Online is streamlining the way self-represented litigants fill out and e-file their court forms in Illinois.|
|Online Triage & Intake System (OTIS) Expansion & Improvement||OTIS is an online tool that directs users to the best available resource(s) based on their location, legal issue, and/or income level. OTIS users who fit any of seven legal aid partner programs’ criteria can apply for legal services through the statewide system and have their application transferred directly to the program best suited to help them. In 2019, Illinois Legal Aid Online is adding new programs and improving the user-friendliness of the system.|
|Diversity & Inclusion in Legal Aid||LTF will convene a working group of legal aid stakeholders to discuss issues of diversity and inclusion and planning to collect data about the diversity of grantee organizations’ staff.|
|Professional Development re: Legal Operations & Technology for Legal Aid Staff||Institute for the Future of Law Practice is designing training for legal aid staff to learn about legal technology, legal operations, and the rapidly changing ecosystem of the delivery of legal services.|
|Geographic Equity of Service Delivery||LTF will review existing data related to geographic equity in access to legal assistance across Illinois, map out additional data-collection needs, and outline possible steps to address geographic imbalances in service delivery.|
|Future-State Pilot Project: Rentervention||The Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing and Illinois Legal Aid Online are working with LTF to launch, publicize, and improve the Rentervention pilot project, which focuses on expanding access to legal assistance in cases involving private-market landlord/tenant matters in Chicago. The concept behind the Rentervention model is to combine automated guidance (using chatbots, document automation, and AI-based workflow tools) and human interventions (through telephone calls, clinics, limited-scope assistance, and referrals to legal aid or pro bono lawyers) in a single “vertically integrated” service path.|
|Future-State Pilot Project: UpSolve||UpSolve, a non-profit start-up organization founded at Harvard Law School’s Access to Justice Lab to address the need for more legal aid services related to Chapter 7 bankruptcies, is launching its services in Illinois with LTF support.|
For more information about LTF’s Strategic Initiatives, please contact LTF Counsel for Innovation & Technology Hanna Kaufman.