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Boost in legal tech projects

Boost in legal tech projects

By Kate Fazio

Practice & Procedure Technology 

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Creating smart online legal assistance products is a high-impact use of pro bono.

Not all pro bono hours are equal. The impact of an hour of pro bono work can vary greatly.

Over the past year, Justice Connect has benefited from pro bono contributions by lawyers from its member law firms to technology projects.

The impacts of an hour spent on these projects is profound: by building a product, a lawyer is creating a lasting legacy that can continue to assist people well beyond the contribution of their time.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ Samantha Loff contributed to the design and content of the Justice Connect Not-for-profit Law Service’s Tax Concessions web application. Ms Loff says she loved translating a complex area of law into a form that was clear and logical, and could be readily understood and applied by not-for-profit organisations.

Users agree that the tax application is extremely useful. In the words of one user, “For many people [tax concessions] is the most challenging aspect and making it compact and straightforward – but also tailored – is brilliant.”

More recently, Hive Legal’s Dr Imme Kaschner spent three months at Justice Connect helping to develop Justice Connect’s Google-funded initiative, the Legal Help Gateway.

Dr Kaschner says that when the task of digitising the processes of taking instructions from a client was initially set for her, she thought “easy, right?”.

Dr Kaschner discovered that clients were concerned to understand “What does the question mean? What will you do with this information? Where do we go from here?”

Dr Kaschner says she was excited about the chance to learn about building prototypes for apps through user-centred design. “But what stands out most is the experience of meeting the clients who volunteered to user-test our prototypes, and their generosity in wanting to give back, as well as the resilience and resourcefulness that they showed in critiquing and improving our work.”

To those lawyers who may be considering whether getting involved in a digital project is right for them, Dr Kaschner says that given the dynamics of the legal technology space, there could hardly be a better time to try.

Kate Fazio is manager of digital innovation strategies at Justice Connect.

 

LOOKING TO HELP?

To find pro bono opportunities for your firm see www.justiceconnect.org.au/get-involved, which also manages the LIV’s pro bono Legal Assistance Service.

For solicitors: talk to your pro bono coordinator or the person responsible for pro bono work at your firm or see www.fclc.org.au/cb_pages/careers_and_getting_involved.php.

For barristers: see www.vicbar.com.au/social-justice/pro-bono.


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