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 2021
|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 continue to convene a working group of legal aid stakeholders to discuss issues of diversity and inclusion and will share findings from baseline data about the diversity of grantee organizations’ staff and boards.|
|COVID HELP (Housing & Economic Loss Prevention) Illinois||COVID HELP was created by CARPLS Legal Aid in collaboration with the Lawyers Trust Fund, Illinois Legal Aid Online, The Chicago Bar Foundation, the Westside Justice Center, the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, and many other partners in the legal aid community across the state. The system uses virtual legal assistants to provide free, automated, 24/7 guidance to Illinois residents facing common legal problems as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.|
|Future-State Pilot Project: Automated Expungement||Cabrini Green Legal Aid, a state and national leader in criminal records relief, will work with non-profit Code for America to design, develop, and deploy software to automate the process of creating criminal records expungement petitions. The software will initially be used with partner legal aid organizations in Cook County while Cabrini Green Legal Aid determines the feasibility of expanding its use statewide.|
|Future-State Pilot Project: Rentervention||The Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing will expand 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, will continue to offer its services in Illinois with LTF support.|
For more information about LTF’s Strategic Initiatives, please contact LTF Counsel for Strategic Initiatives Hanna Kaufman.