|Research and Development|
Research and Development
Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) has a long history of developing new and innovative technologies in the legal aid community. Below you can find information on recent projects, documentation, and code samples. For more information on any of these technologies, please contact Gwen Daniels, Director of Technology Development.
Statewide Online Access System
The Statewide Online Access System is a statewide initiative involving ILAO and the three Legal Services Corporation (LSC) funded programs, LAF (Legal Assistance Foundation), Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance, and Prairie State Legal Services. Funding for the project was provided by the LSC through its Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) program.
The overall goal of the Statewide Online Access System is to improve the legal services delivery system in Illinois by developing and implementing an automated, online process for getting lower-income individuals and families to the most appropriate legal resources for their problems. The process contains three components:
This project rolled out to full launch in Spring 2014.
Sample Triage Rules
Pro Bono Volunteer Search Redesign and Law Student Internship Application
Working with members of the legal aid and pro bono communities, we rebuilt the volunteer system on IllinoisProBono.org and create a statewide internship application system, building on earlier work we did with the Public Interest Law Initiative to move their law student application system to IllinoisProBono.org a few years ago.
The new volunteer search features a new SOLR-based search engine, custom views for law firms and corporations, an online application system, and an improved user interface both for volunteers looking for opportunities and for the legal aid agencies posting opportunities. In addition to the search, the system offers the ability to browse by opportunity type, practice area, skills acquired, population served, and organization.
The law student internship system allows legal aid agencies to post any law student internship or post graduate fellowships, and accept and manage applications online. It integrates with the existing PILI law student and graduate fellowship system on IllinoisProBono.org
Ayuda Legal Illinois: Building a Spanish Website with the Google Translate API
In partnership with LAF (Legal Assistance Foundation) and with TIG funding from the Legal Services Corporation, ILAO created the Ayuda Legal Illinois website which launched January 23, 2012. The project included technology development to integrate the Google Translate API into ILAO’s statewide content management system to allow us to duplicate English content into Spanish using machine translation (it is then reviewed by a human) and to create a site generator that allowed us to generate the AyudaLegalIL.org website without building a completely new website. As a result of this project, we created several resources that may be of use to others looking to do similar work:
As part of an LSC TIG awarded to Pine Tree Legal Assistance (PTLA) in January 2010, PTLA partnered with ILAO to develop two Illinois-specific native mobile apps, the Illinois Legal Aid app, both available through iTunes and Google Play.
The Illinois Legal Aid app provides a subset of our Legal Guides, modules that provide common questions, forms, instructions, related articles, and referrals to legal aid agencies. We’ve included Legal Guides for the 25 most common legal problems, including divorce, eviction, child support, small claims, mortgage foreclosure and orders of protection.
The Illinois Pro Bono app provides a volunteer search to allow lawyers, paralegals, and law students to look for volunteer opportunities and contact the sponsoring organization. It provides a calendar of upcoming events for the next three months, including events, webcasts, and MCLE-eligible webcasts. It also includes a legal library that includes the Illinois Attorney Desk Reference Manual, which covers a variety of poverty law topics, as well as a handful of other pieces of content related to pro bono.