33 Clearinghouse Rev. [i] (1999-2000)

handle is hein.journals/clear33 and id is 1 raw text is: The first three articles in this issue envision how technology may influ-
ence the future of civil legal assistance and highlight significant challenges
and opportunities for the poverty law community. The authors, Claire Parins
and Michelle Nicolet, Tanya Neiman, and Alan Houseman, suggest that larg-
er events (political, demographic, economic, and technological) demand
that our community rethink how legal assistance is delivered to low-income
individuals and communities. They remind us that as we redesign the deliv-
ery system, information technologies offer powerful tools for creating inno-
vative collaborations and delivery methods.
The poverty law community must actively participate and invest in
innovations. As Parins and Nicolet remind us, the best way to predict the
future is to invent it. Whether by building a national knowledge system on
the Web, creating virtual communities of lawyers, or training Community
Navigators (T. Neiman), experienced poverty law advocates must lead the
way. Programs and especially funders must dedicate resources-financial
and human-to promote creative models, carefully evaluate them, and if
successful, replicate them for the larger community. Finding the resources
to support such innovations will take leadership at the national, state and
program level. The following questions need answers:
How do funders avoid duplication and coordinate efforts so that the
best practices are identified, supported and replicated? How do we develop
the infrastructure at the program, state, and federal levels for implementing
new technologies? How should we coordinate with others within the larger
legal community, e.g. courts, private attorneys, legal information providers?
How do we coordinate with other social service providers?
Investing in innovation also poses risks. As funding for civil legal assis-
tance continues to be attacked, it is especially difficult to reallocate
resources. The risks of not acting, however, seem far greater than the risks
of acting. Content (i.e. information) for low-income people in need of legal
assistance must be developed for the Web by the poverty law community.
For example, imagine this scenario:
On the day when people access the Web through their TV (not so far
off), a domestic violence survivor-whose abuser just left the house-tums
on her TV and accesses information through the legal services portal. As
she describes her problem, the portal recognizes the severity of her situation
and connects her via interactive video to a legal advocate-perhaps a pro
bono lawyer in a large firm (who has been trained online by a legal services
provider and has logged on to take these types of calls). The advocate pre-
pares a petition for an order of protection, contacts a judge--also linked by
video-who reviews the petition, interviews the client, and issues the order
of protection. The order is sent electronically to the client and a sheriff, who
later serves it on the abuser. The legal advocate then connects the client-
still sitting in front of her TV-with a social worker who also helps her.
The three articles that follow demonstrate how developing such an
information system-seamlessly navigated by clients-would offer huge
benefits for our clients and enormous efficiency gains for legal services
providers. It will also take resources, imagination and courage.
MICHAEL HERTZ, FOUNDER OF PROBONO.NET
Probono.net, bttp://www.probono.net, supported by tbe Open Society Institute, uses tbe
Web to create virtual communities of public interest and legal service lauyers and is
being rolled out in New York City.
Photographs and drawings that appear in CLERMNGHOUSE RtsEw are produced independently of articles and columns and
bear no relationship to cases or incidents discussed herein.
COVER PHOTO BY LAURIE HENDRICKSON
DESIGN BY HENDRICKSON CREATIVE COMMUNICATIONS

CLEARINGHOUSE
Published by National Center on Poverty Law,
205 W. Monroe St., 2d Floor,
Chicago, IL 60606-5013;
312.263.3830; fax 312.263.3846;
HN01 11; admin@povertylaw.org;
www.povertylaw.org
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Rita A. McLennon, ext. 224
ED I TO R I AL
MANAGING EDITOR llze Sprudzs Hirsh, ext. 231
STAFF ATTORNEY-INFORMATION MANAGER
Claire L. Parins, ext. 230
STAFF ATTORNEY-LEGAL EDITOR Marya J. Rose, ext. 235
WEBMASTER Michelle Nicolet
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Edwin P. Abaya, ext. 233
ADVOCACY
DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR ADVOCACY
John Bouman, ext. 250
STAFF ATTORNEY Daniel Lesser, ext. 239
STAFF ATTORNEY Wendy Pollack, ext. 238
STAFF ATTORNEY Dory Rand, ext. 228
STAFF ATTORNEY Margaret Stapleton, ext. 234
HOUSING UNIT SUPERVISOR William P. Wilen. ext. 251
STAFF ATTORNEY Daniel Lindsey, ext. 232
SKADDEN FELLOW Carolyn Shapiro. ext. 225
ADMINISTRATION
FINANCIAL OFFICER M. Nazim Khan, ext. 222
SECRETARY Murtle Mae English, ext. 221
BILINGUAL SECRETARY Maria Perez, ext. 236
SYSTEMS ANALYST Gwendelyn Daniels, ext. 242
CLERICAL SUPPORT Tomasz Przybylowicz
BOARD       OF   DIRECTORS
CHAIR C. Steven Tomashefsky, Chicago. IL
VICE CHAIR Divida Gude, Adanta, GA
SECRETARY-TREASURER Henry Rose, Chicago, IL
Allison Brown, Chicago, IL
Gregory R. Dallaire, Seattle, WA
Elizabeth L. Gracie, Chicago. IL
Angeita A. Hamilton, Oklahoma City, OK
Virginia M. Harding, Chicago, IL
Lillian Johnson, Phoenix AZ
Betty Musburger, Evanston, IL
Grace Allen Newton, Chicago, IL
Tom Rehwaldt, Evanston, IL
Jean Rudd, Chicago, IL
Ronald W. Staudt, Chicago, IL
Eileen Sweeney, Washington, DC
Kaye Wilson, Elgin, IL
CL.EAWNGHOUSE REVIEW encourages submission of articles from
legal services field staff and others. Articles should be sent to
lize Sprudzs Hirsh, managing editor, National Center on Pov-
erty Law, 205 W. Monroe St., 2d Floor, Chicago, IL 60606-5013.
The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and
should not be construed as representing the opinions or pol-
icy of the organizations by which they are employed or of
the National Center on Poverty Law.
VOLUME 33 NUMBERS 1-2
MAY-JUNE 1999
NATIONAL CENTER ON
POVERTY LAW   N  C  P  L

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