An LSC grant program is trying to increase access to justice through tech

Since 2000, approximately $65 million has been awarded by the TIG program.

Feature (NATIONAL)

Stephanie Francis Ward
ABA Journal
February 1, 2020

Tags: Technology

Organizations mentioned/involved: Upsolve, Philadelphia Legal Assistance, Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA), Legal Aid Chicago, Legal Services Corporation (LSC)


Among the offerings by grant recipients are automated forms and document assembly for Michigan residents, and a mobile interface enhancement that allows people to apply for services with the Montana Legal Services Association. That project also added texting capacity with the office’s case management system so that clients get text reminders about appointments and can submit forms into the system from their phones.

In 2018, the TIG program received 58 letters of intent that were whittled down to 38 full applicants. Ultimately, 26 grants were awarded. James Sandman, president of the LSC, decides who gets the grants. (Editor’s note: On Jan. 21, after the February-March issue went to press, Sandman announced he would leave LSC in February.) When the TIG program started, he says, many legal aid offices didn’t even have websites.

“The first order of business was to fund website development of every state and territory with two populations in mind—first, low-income people, and second to … pro bono lawyers, who might be taking on a client where they needed help,” he says.