These schemes come around every few years:
Menu Current Projects Appleseed focuses on broad systemic social initiatives rather than on the traditional provision of legal services to individuals.
This vision grew out of the idea that the best way to achieve big results is to work for the kind of change that levels the playing field and transforms entire communities at a time. That means that over 30, low-income residents in Massachusetts, facing eviction, domestic violence, and other crises, faced them alone.
Is technology a big part of the solution for this tremendous need? Massachusetts Appleseed thinks so, and is embarking on a new direction for our organization to look at the models by which low-income people are provided legal services and how technology can make a real difference in access to justice.
We are excited to be building relationships with leaders in the access to justice and technology community. Appleseed is in a unique position to convene and collaborate with the many outstanding organizations and academic institutions in Massachusetts tackling the issue of access to justice — coordinating efforts and advocating for solutions to our local challenges is what we do!
And while technological solutions will not be enough alone to solve the challenges of overburdened and underfunded civil legal aid and court systems, we believe that innovative technology approaches will allow for real expansion of services over time, without increasing costs.
Here are some examples of the work that we are launching: The Cell Phone Project: There are currently 56 Trial Court facilities across the state with active cell phone bans.
This project is aimed at understanding why these bans were initially put into place, their impact, and possible solutions. Our preliminary research has already shown that these bans are extremely burdensome to unrepresented litigants and have a harmful effect on access to justice in Massachusetts.
Cell phone bans can present a variety of serious practical and access to justice problems for unrepresented litigants.
Litigants with evidence stored on their phone cannot access it, or any legal aid materials available online. Individuals with a language barrier cannot use a translation service.
Many hide their phones in bushes and other areas around the courthouse so as not to miss their session. Some rely on vendors near courthouses that will store cell phones for a fee, but others cannot afford these fees or are forced to use money they had planned to use for public transit fare home.
And even more litigants simply turn around and go home. I was going to use it to show the original traffic violation. An Access to Justice Perspective. Massachusetts Appleseed was selected from a competitive pool of applicants to conduct the annual evaluation of LawHelp Interactive.
A project of Pro Bono Net, LawHelp Interactive is a national platform that creates court forms and documents online that are used by legal aid advocates, pro bono lawyers, court staff, and individuals representing themselves.
This project officially launches Massachusetts Appleseed onto the national stage as a skilled research outfit, an important access to justice player, and experts in the nexus between technology, legal system, and a user-centric approach.
Beyond recognition and exposure, the LHI evaluation offers us a chance to make a substantive contribution to access to justice efforts that stands to benefit litigants, courts, and advocates not only in Massachusetts but across the country.
InMassachusetts opened its first Court Service Centers as part of an effort to build a bridge between the Court and self-represented litigants. Court Service Centers are locations within state courthouse where self-represented litigants can more easily obtain access to informational resources, forms and other assistance that facilitates their experience with the courts.
At present, there are six centers in operation in courthouses in Boston, Greenfield, Springfield, Worcester, Lawrence, and Brockton. Our research role will involve analyzing data, interviewing stakeholders, and studying policies and procedures used in comparable settings to make recommendations about the content and design of an ideal virtual CSC for Massachusetts.
Through this ambitious initiative, Massachusetts Appleseed will contribute to a significant shift in the way Massachusetts residents are able to access justice, one which is not based only on location, and one which takes advantage of readily available technology.
Thus, an individual who has a limited ability to read, write, speak, and understand English and is engaging with a state agency has the right to:The Advocate is Louisiana's leading news source, providing award-winning local and regional news coverage.
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