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2021 Equal Justice Conference Workshops

Conference Materials and Recordings are in DropBox


Opening Plenary

Awards Ceremony

Closing Plenary

Workshop Sessions A-E

10 Minutes or Less: The Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network

Available Materials

Karla Chrobak, IL-AFLAN Hotline, CARPLS, Chicago, IL
Ellen Rheaume, Legal Aid Chicago, Chicago, IL
Zach Zarnow, Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, Chicago, IL

IL-AFLAN connects callers to an attorney in under 10 minutes, resolves almost 70% of those legal problems over the phone and handles 1,300 calls per month. Using state-of-the-art content management and an online referral and real-time data analytics portal, this network of 19 legal aid providers has served over 11,000 people in just three years. How is it funded? What is the software? What is the budget? How do 19 organizations standardize intake and data collection? How can you replicate this success? Come find out!

50 Tech Tips 2021

Available Materials

David Bonebrake, Legal Services Corporation, Washington, DC
Liz Keith, Pro Bono Net, San Francisco, CA
LaDierdre D. McKinney, Michigan Legal Help Program, Ann Arbor, MI
Glenn Rawdon, Legal Services Corporation, Washington, DC
Jane Ribadeneyra, Legal Services Corporation, Washington, DC

This fast-paced, engaging session will provide tips about free and low-cost technology, including mobile apps, remote work tools, web platforms, and solutions for Windows and macOS. Technology leaders will share new tips relevant to the access to justice community at what is always one of the most popular sessions at the EJC.

A Hands-on Training for Creating Online Interactive Interviews

Available Materials

Alison Corn, Pro Bono Net, Vallejo, CA
Sam Harden, Pro Bono Net, Tampa, FL
Pat Malone, Pro Bono Net, Florence, MA

Interactive online interviews help with self-screening, connecting to the right legal information, filling out legal or intake forms, and more. Learn how to write an interview script for diverse client situations, and how to build an app for your script.

Amplifying our Impact: A Network Approach for Eviction Defense

Available Materials

Kirra Jarratt, DC Bar Foundation, Washington, DC
Kelly Jarvis, NPC Research, Portland, OR
Mark Johnson-Lewis, DC Bar Foundation, Washington, DC
Lucy Newton, Rising for Justice, Washington, DC

Since 2017, six organizations in Washington, DC have collaborated to provide eviction defense services. In this session, the DC Bar Foundation, the program funder, will describe the power of networks in civil legal aid, and NPC Research, an independent evaluation firm, will present program data and lessons learned.

Beyond "Bite Size": Managing Cases and Developing Resources for Mid and Long-Term Pro Bono Matters

Available Materials

Elizabeth Lewis, McDermott Will and Emery, Chicago, IL
Daniel Massoglia, First Defense Legal Aid, Chicago, IL
Melissa O. Picciola, Legal Aid Chicago, Chicago, IL

Best practices and lessons learned for case management and resource development for medium to long term pro bono, using interactive scenarios. Drawing experience from diverse Chicago area programs, this legal aid and law firm panel will leave you confident that you aren’t letting anyone down, including clients, volunteers.

Bootstrapping a Statewide Legal Triage Portal

Available Materials

Amanda Brown, Lagniappe Law Lab, New Orleans, LA
David Colarusso, Suffolk University Law School Legal Innovation and Technology Lab, Boston, MA
Thomas Officer, Community Lawyer, Brooklyn, NY

During this session, attendees will deploy their own no-code legal triage system. Throughout the deployment exercise, panelists will discuss website and interview design, content strategy, and artificial intelligence search enhancements. Attendees will leave with the technology infrastructure templates and a toolkit for building out the system after the conference.

Build a Better ____: Strategies for User-Informed Legal Tech

Available Materials

Victoria Suwardiman, Graphic Advocacy Project, Riverview, FL
Ashley Treni, Graphic Advocacy Project, Providence, RI
Angela Tripp, Michigan Legal Help, Ypsilanti, MI

As technology becomes increasingly crucial to our legal work, we must ensure that our tech tools reflect users’ experiences and needs. This panel will showcase how user experience design and usability testing have benefited legal tech projects across the country, and give you practical guidance for engaging in user-informed design.

Building Power With First-Step Apps

Available Materials

Ben Carter, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, Lexington, KY
Thomas Officer, Community Lawyer, Brooklyn, NY

As soon as the CDC's Eviction Moratorium Order went into effect on September 4, 2020, KEJC launched, an app that allows people to review, sign, and send the Declaration to their landlords in a few minutes from a smartphone or computer. In less than two months, it's been used by more than 7000 people nationwide. What other online tools can we build to allow people to take the first step in getting help with a legal problem? How can our organizations work together efficiently to provide more meaningful state-specific advice and information within some of these apps?

Building Strategic Advocacy in a Time of Crises

Available Materials

Catherine C. Carr, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia, PA
Kimberly Jones Merchant, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, Chicago, IL
Laura Tuggle, Southeast LA Legal Services, New Orleans, LA

This session will address how your organization can build a culture, structure, and expertise to tackle the systemic issues clients face, including racist policies and practices and those resulting from the pandemic, using multiple tools and approaches. Learn how your legal work can be more strategic and efficient and have more impact, achieving lasting results for large client groups. Concrete examples of recent work and steps to make program changes will be provided and group discussion will be encouraged.

Can One Size Fit All? Building a statewide pro bono portal

Available Materials

Katie Dilks, Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation, Tulsa, OK
Eli Mattern, SavvySuit, Maitland, FL
Samira Nazem, Chicago Bar Foundation, Chicago, IL

This session will cover three state's experiences developing a statewide pro bono portal (Florida, Oklahoma, and Illinois). An engaging and interactive panel discussion will cover platforms and partners, lessons learned, and opportunities for the future.

Centering Lived Experience within Legal Knowledge and Practice

Available Materials

Liz Medicine Crow, First Alaskans Institute, Anchorage, AK
Nikole Nelson, Alaska Legal Services Corporation, Anchorage, AK
Jhody Polk, Legal Empowerment and Advocacy Hub; River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, Gainesville, FL

This session will bring together a variety of voices to have a conversation about the importance of centering lived experience within any access to justice work. Panelists will discuss the differing ways in which legal knowledge and expertise may be gained and the power and importance of centering lived experience in movements to achieve more just outcomes from legal systems. This conversation will address head on how traditional models of legal education contribute to and compound systemic inequities as well as exploring alternative and effective models of gaining expertise.

Changing the Unauthorized Practice of Law Rules in More Ways and More Places

Available Materials

Chris Albin-Lackey, National Center for Access to Justice, New York, NY
David Udell, National Center for Access to Justice, New York, NY

For centuries, states have prohibited anyone other than lawyers from providing legal services to people. The underlying "UPL" laws sweep far and wide, sometimes prohibiting and often chilling the efforts of paralegals, librarians, social workers, organizers, domestic violence advocates, navigators, and many others who want to help people, who are capable of helping people, but who are told they must do nothing more than share "information." Meanwhile, millions of people annually receive no help of any kind for civil legal problems. A UPL rules reform movement seeks to change this, and is making progress in Arizona, California, Utah, Washington, and additional states. Join this session to learn what UPL rules reform looks like, and what it means for client communities, civil legal aid lawyers, the private bar, the entrepreneurial tech sector, and other stakeholders. Contribute to the discussion about legal empowerment, access to justice, and the best practices approaches for changing UPL rules.

Communities of Color and Child Protective Service: Unique challenges and innovative solutions

Available Materials

Liza M. Davis, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Dominique Quevedo, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Vivek S. Sankaran, Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, MI

Communities of color are disproportionally overrepresented in our various government systems, including the child welfare system. Youth in foster care are twice as likely as other youth to have a child by age 19 and are more likely to fare poorly and face severe challenges in education, employment, and keeping their family together. Undocumented or immigrant foster youth face even bigger hurdles in education, employment and keeping their family together because they often do not qualify for or do not know how to access the assistance they need to apply for financial aid, certain benefits, and a work permit. This session will provide an overview of issues commonly faced by communities of color within this context and discuss several innovative advocacy techniques implemented across the county by lawyers, pro bono attorneys and law schools that address and help eliminate those barriers

Creating and Supervising Remote Student Internship Programs

Available Materials

Cassandra Adams, Wake Forest University School of Law, Winston-Salem, NC
Nell Brimmer, Legal Services Alabama, Montgomery, AL
Francie Scott, Wake Forest University School of Law, Winston-Salem, NC

Law students and legal interns play an important role in access to justice and legal services work. Creating a framework for a remote program and ensuring strong mentorship and supervision increases the ability to extend our reach and serve our clients, especially during disasters or large scale disruptions. Join Legal Services Alabama’s Managing Attorney of Client Access and Wake Forest Law’s Dean of Students to discuss internship programs, remote supervision, and explore frameworks for successful placements. Hear tips on effective internship structures from the law school perspective and the tools LSA used to effectively pivot and run a successful remote program over the Summer of 2020.

Data-Data-Data; Using Technology to Impact System Change

Available Materials

Lawrence Berger, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Nicole Braddick, Theory and Principle, Portland, ME
Sarah Davis, LIFT Dane, Madison, WI
Marsha M. Mansfield, LIFT Dane, Madison, WI

Many civil legal aid organizations have collected data on outputs such as the number of referrals, number of cases closed, as well as short-term outcomes but few organizations have tracked the longer-term impact of civil legal aid. LIFT Dane has designed a technological approach to do just that. The session will illustrate LIFT’s use of data assessment and evaluation to measure impact on increasing equity.

Designing Law School/Legal Services Pro Bono Projects That really Assist Clients

Available Materials

Lori Anderson, Atlanta Legal Aid, Atlanta, GA
Alex Estroff, Georgia State University School of Law, Atlanta, GA
Cari H. King, Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Atlanta, GA
Darcy Meals, Georgia State University School of Law, Atlanta, GA

This panel features GSU law school faculty and Atlanta Legal Aid lawyers, going over how we prep for, administer, and collaborate on limited scope pro bono projects that connect students to clients who need more support than legal services typically can provide. We will break out into small groups to brainstorm limited scope projects that they would like to see either offered to law students or fulfilled by law students, each group will present on an idea or two, and the panel will analyze the pros and cons based on our experience as to how that opportunity could or might not be beneficial to students, clients, and legal services attorneys.

Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion In Legal Aid: It's Time To Take Action

Available Materials

Nell Brimmer, Legal Services Alabama, Montgomery, AL
Salena Copeland, Legal Aid Association of California, Oakland, CA
Elizabeth Hom, State Bar of California, San Francisco, CA
Elizabeth Matos, Prisoners' Legal Services, Boston, MA
Felecia Pettway, Legal Services Alabama, Montgomery, AL
LaToya Whiteside, Prisoners' Legal Services, Boston, MA

Legal aid organizations are uniquely positioned to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within their own organizations and have a significant impact on the communities they serve. This session aims to create a critical discourse about the role of legal aid attorneys and advocates in racial and social justice and provide a roadmap for organizational innovation. Legal aid advocates trained in serving low-income individuals also need additional training to work specifically to combat racial inequities. This session will focus on both (1) how to prioritize hiring and supporting staff from diverse backgrounds and (2) engaging in community lawyering to ensure that impacted communities have voice in the decision making process. Access to justice cannot truly be achieved without careful attention to the intersection of diversity, equity, and inclusion in legal aid. Legal aid organizations must prioritize DEI to support advocates of color to remain and advance to leadership positions at the same time they prioritize racial justice work to meet the needs of client communities. Panelists will share materials and frameworks for the components of a fellowship program, a toolkit on creating HR policies within organizations, information on multiple anti-racist frameworks, a statewide recruitment and retention report with DEI-specific recommendations, and a “report card” on the diversity of attorneys in the state of California.

Do You Speak Language Justice? Help Build the Language Justice Movement

Available Materials

Joann Lee, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Ana Paula Noguez Mercado, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, Oakland, CA
Alena Uliasz, California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc., Stockton, CA

The language justice movement advocates for people marginalized because they use languages other than English to communicate. What is language justice and how does it differ from language access? How do technology, the digital divide and COVID-19 affect the conversation? Learn how to analyze language and power, promote language rights, create inclusive multilingual spaces, and develop action steps to speak language justice in your advocacy.

Easy as A, B, C: Learning Management Systems to Improve your Pro Bono Program

Available Materials

Jayme Cassidy, Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., Miami, FL
Cari King, Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Atlanta, GA
Anais Taboas, Legal Services Corporation, Washington, DC

Virtual learning and training allows volunteers to access information in an easy and on-demand way. This session will explore different remote and on-demand Learning Management Systems (LMS) utilized by different legal aid organizations to best train their volunteers and provide the best possible services to their clients. The presenters will discuss how they selected their respective LMS, how they implemented the new technology, and how it has improved how they train their volunteers.

Educating Legislators About Legal Aid 2.0

Available Materials

Carol Bergman, Legal Services Corporation, Washington, DC
Colleen Cotter, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH
Ronald S. Flagg, Legal Services Corporation, Washington, DC
Nikole Nelson, Alaska Legal Services Corporation, Anchorage, AK
Betty Balli Torres, Texas Access to Justice Foundation, Austin, TX

Building on prior workshops framing legal aid as constituent services to federal and state legislators and their staff, this is an opportunity to expand your outreach efforts. The panel will include LSC grantee executive directors and civil legal aid practitioners with experience meeting with and educating legislators.

Expanding Workers' Rights Across Tennessee

Available Materials

James Hicks, Tennessee Bureau of Workers' Compensation, Nashville, TN
Spring Miller, Vanderbilt University Law School, Nashville, TN
Ann Pruitt, Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, Nashville, TN

Across Tennessee, there are multiple collaborative projects working to increase access to legal help for underrepresented workers. This session will explore innovations in community and attorney outreach, developing tech solutions, and engaging law students to increase resources for workers.

Workshop Sessions F-K

From Participation to Power: Co-Design and Tech Strategies to Support Legal Empowerment

Available Materials

David Rodriguez Andino, Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR
Ariadna Godreau Aubert, Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR
Matthew Burnett, Open Society Justice Initiative, New York, NY
Liz Keith - Moderator, Pro Bono Net, San Francisco, CA

This session will highlight participatory design and technology strategies from the US and beyond to help communities know and shape laws that impact them. Panelists will discuss projects that draw on equity design principles and strategic uses of technology and data to help connect individual casework with systemic advocacy.

Harnessing Goodness: What North Carolina Pro Bono Attorneys Did to Help Small Businesses & Non-Profits During COVID

Available Materials

Katherine Asaro, North Carolina Legal Education Assistance Foundation and Senior Staff Attorney and Disaster Legal Services Program Director at North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center, Raleigh, NC
Amy J. Hill, Nelson Mullins, Raleigh, NC
Sylvia Novinsky, North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center, Raleigh, NC
Norah Rogers, Nelson Mullins, Columbia, SC

As the world was relocating from office to work from home, small businesses and non-profits were struggling to pay employees and rent. The North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center, along with several large law firms, joined the Lawyers For Good Government COVID-19 project and created an innovative pro bono approach to help. To date, volunteer attorneys have helped almost 200 North Carolina small businesses and non-profits with their COVID related legal issues and questions. This session will explore the evolution of the project, how it runs, and where it is going. And the need for pro bono help in the world of small business and non profits.

Hosting Pro Bono Clinics In-House (Virtual and On-Site)

Available Materials

Tali Albukerk, American Bar Association, Chicago, IL
Monica Fennell, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, Indianapolis, IN
Beth Henderson, Microsoft Corporate, External & Legal Affairs (CELA), Redmond, WA
Luise Welby, Freddie Mac, McLean, VA

Want to offer pro bono virtually and on-site to corporate attorneys? Learn how to host pro bono programs in-house and adapt them to the virtual environment. Highlighted models include ABA Free Legal Answers, expungement, wills and uncontested divorce clinics. Review clinic logistics, e.g., attorney pairing, licensing and ethics, technology, intake, forms, interpreters and security issues. Panelists will discuss lessons learned from COVID-19 and the challenges faced, and overcome, in holding clinics virtually. Experience, knowledge and needs of other legal service providers in attendance will be shared through interactive discussion.

Hot Topics in Civil Legal Aid

Available Materials

Ron Flagg, Legal Services Corporation, Washington, DC
Ted Howard, Wiley Rein / ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense, Washington, DC
Don Saunders, National Legal Aid & Defender Association, Washington, DC
Radhika Singh, National Legal Aid & Defender Association, Washington, DC

This session will focus on developments at the Legal Services Corporation, the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, and NLADA particularly related to the covid-19 legal response and ongoing efforts to advance racial equity in the justice system and our communities. Presenters will address these issues from their respective institutional perspectives and will engage with participants in a Q & A segment responding to their particular questions or concerns.

How to Make #GivingTuesday Bigger Than Social Media

Available Materials

Jennifer Luczkowiak, Prairie State Legal Services, Inc., Waukegan, IL

#GivingTuesday was created in 2012 and we still have so far to go to make the most out of this day to benefit civil legal aid. Join us to learn how to make the most of this annual day of giving and how to leverage other giving days in your community!

"I Don’t See Color" and Other Myths: Examining and Combating Implicit Bias in Pro Bono Work

Available Materials

Syon Bhanot, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA
Rida Haq, Philadelphia VIP, Philadelphia, PA

Unexamined, subconscious value judgments and racial biases can impede the development of productive attorney-client relationships and negatively impact practical outcomes. Attendees will examine the influence of poverty and race on identity, cognition, and decision-making; reflect on the formation and impact of unconscious judgments; and conclude with strategies to avoid related pitfalls in pro bono work.

I Know What You Did Last Summer: Working With Students Remotely During (and post-) COVID

Available Materials

Samantha Howell, Southern Legal Counsel, Inc., Gainesville, FL

Implementing a fully-remote program in March, we were able to integrate our clerks thoroughly across our work: onboarding 100+ students, including them in depositions/moots, setting up diverse assignments, and coordinating regular check-ins and effective communication strategies. This session will explore how to adapt these efforts to other programs.

I’m Having Connection Issues: Legal Ethics for Legal Aid Lawyers Operating Remotely

Available Materials

Lauren Gilbride, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH
Ellyn Rosen, ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, Chicago, IL

Moving to a remote work environment due to the Pandemic has been challenging for all lawyers. For legal aid lawyers the challenges are unique for a variety of reasons, including their clientele. This session will help legal aid lawyers continue to navigate the ethical waters of remote work, including lawyers residing/working from jurisdictions in which they are not licensed, ensuring confidentiality, supervising staff, participating in remote hearings (remember, you are not a cat), returning to in-person hearings, and client communication. Using hypothetical scenarios, experts in the field address the application and interplay of Model Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1 (Competence), 1.4 (Communication), 1.6 (Confidentiality), 5.3 (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistance); and 5.5 (Multijurisdictional Practice and UPL).

If We Knew Then What We Know Now

Available Materials

Jim Barrett, Pisgah Legal Services, Asheville, NC
Steve Gottlieb, Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Atlanta, GA
Meredith McBurney,, Denver, CO
Kate McGarvey, Ohio State Legal Services Association (OSLSA), Columbus, OH

A practical discussion for legal aid leadership and development staff on planning for the new normal with the lessons of 2020 in mind. Three Executive Directors who saw real success with individual giving, law firm support, and government program partnerships in the midst of the pandemic will share their insights about planning for 2021 and beyond on these fronts.

Illegal to Be Homeless: How the Law Creates and Punishes Homelessness

Available Materials

Tristia Bauman, National Homelessness Law Center, Washington, DC
Ed Johnson, Oregon Law Center, Portland, OR

As unsheltered homelessness has grown across the country, so have policies that punish homeless people for living in public space despite their lack of other options. In this session, participants will learn about how systemic racism and unaffordable housing have led to an unsheltered homeless crisis that particularly impacts people of color. Participants will also learn about increasing policies that criminally and/or civilly punish homeless people's acts of survival, and why these policies are ineffective, expensive, and often illegal. The session will address recent developments in the case law, and also constructive alternative policies to criminalization approaches to homelessness.

Immigration Hot Topics

Available Materials

Jenna Gilber, Human Rights First, Los Angeles, CA
Nareeneh Sohbatian, Winston & Strawn LLP, Los Angeles, CA

The session will focus on recent changes and developments in substantive immigration law, with a focus on asylum law/pro bono immigration representation. It will provide attendees an in-depth look at recent policy and legal developments pertaining to immigration claims. It will address recent changes in the adjudications of immigration cases.

Innovations in Remote Delivery Models

Available Materials

Toni Bonds, Atlanta Legal Aid, Atlanta, GA
Farah Majid, Legal Services Alabama, Birmingham, AL
Nicole McLaughlin, Mississippi Access to Justice Commission, Jackson, MS
Jeanne Ortiz-Ortiz, Pro Bono Net, New York, NY

This session will focus on innovative programs in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, aimed at remote and rural service delivery. The ripple effects of the pandemic have disproportionately impacted racial minorities, who have been hit the hardest concerning housing, health, family, and employment issues. This session will offer examples of solutions and outreach strategies that advance a just and equitable recovery for rural communities and other communities affected by the crisis. This workshop features Georgia Legal Connect, a technology-inspired program that connects low-income Georgians to attorneys for legal advice; the Rural Economic Improvement Project in Alabama, which aims at better serving rural counties by coordinating with non-lawyers and using technology to reach clients; and a comprehensive system of pro bono clinics in Mississippi, including the challenges of transitioning these clinics in the time of COVID-19. Through the implementation of these systems, each state aims to achieve equal justice for populations who tend to be underserved. During the session, presenters will both explain their work and then engage the audience in issues they recognize. Participants will hopefully come away with strategies that will help them in their own provision of services.

Innovative Service Delivery is Born out of Adversity

Available Materials

Shelby King Gaddy, Legal Services of the Virgin Islands, Inc., St. Croix, VI
Aurora Martin, popUPjustice, LLC, Seattle, WA

In the aftermath of the 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria (both of which struck the Virgin Islands at Cat. 5), Legal Services of the Virgin Islands, Inc. (LSVI) had to re-think its total approach to service delivery. Moreover, with the pandemic experienced with COVID-19 in 2020, the revamped service delivery system that was being implemented was stress tested and only had to be tweaked to assist clients in the "new normal". The New and Improved Service Delivery system employed a variety of technology and mobile resources to produce Equal Access to Justice-Anytime-Anywhere!

Inside Baseball: Pitching Your Pro Bono Clinic/Project to Corporate In-House Attorneys

Available Materials

Valentine Brown, Duane Morris LLP, Philadelphia, PA
Deborah (Debi) Korzenik, Mount Sinai Health System, New York, NY
Katharyn Christian McGee, Duane Morris, Philadelphia, PA
Julia Pudlin, Comcast, Philadelphia, PA

Join a panel of in-house counsel leading their companies’ pro bono programs for an inside look on how best to pitch your pro bono project, including tips on creating virtual pro bono clinics/projects utilizing in-house attorneys' resources/experience. Participants will learn: what works best to get noticed and how best to identify/reach interested local in-house counsel, and how to avoid the third rail in your pitch; how to address ethical issues in-house attorneys will have questions about regarding pro bono clinics, and best-practices for harnessing legal departments greater resources to create virtual/remote clinics.

It's 2021, not 2020 - VAWA

Available Materials

Marium Durrani, National Domestic Violence Hotline, Washington, DC
Grace Huang, Asian-Pacific Institute on Gender Based Violence, Oakland, CA
Terra Russell-Slavin, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Los Angeles, CA

As the original champion of the Violence Against Women Act, President Biden made VAWA reauthorization a priority for his first 100 days in office. Having just passed the 100-day mark on April 30, this panel of VAWA legislative experts and advocates will review what has happened since inauguration, and what lawyers and victims can expect going forward.

Workshop Sessions L-O

Lawyers on Tap, Not Lawyers on Top: Exploring Community Partnership & Accountability

Available Materials

Denise Diskin, The QLAW Foundation of Washington, Seattle, WA
Paige Hardy, JustLead Washington, Seattle, WA

2020 made clear that the justice systems must change. Communities most harmed by the systems we work within, especially those experiencing poverty and racism know best what needs to change, yet often are denied access to institutional power. Panelists will discuss ways legal aid organizations can develop meaningful and accountable relationships in support of community-identified priorities, by intentionally disrupting traditional community lawyering models and the status quo.

Leveraging Technology to Serve Clients and Engage Advocates: Pro Bono Lessons Learned During a Pandemic

Available Materials

David Gomez, Bay Area Legal Services, Tampa, FL
Jena Hudson, Bay Area Legal Services, Tampa, FL
Claud Nelson, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Orlando, FL
Martha Pardo, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Orlando, FL

This panel focuses on various methods to shift the traditional legal services model into a responsive system of flexible opportunities to accommodate a virtual world. Learn from our mistakes (as well as our successes) and capitalize on this unprecedented global shift toward remote and virtual work to serve more clients.

LSC Disaster Technology Update - A New National Website and More

Available Materials

Collin Hayes, Legal Services Corporation, Washington, DC
Shrushti Kothari, Lone Star Legal Aid, Houston, TX

Legal Services Corporation supports grantees in creating technology solutions to help low-income communities prepare for and recover from disasters. This includes substantial support for disaster-related technology initiatives. The panel will discuss these efforts, including the new Legal Aid Disaster Resource Center website ( and other key disaster technology developments. This session will focus on disaster technology projects that advance the important mission of legal services providers and pro bono organizations, including furthering equal justice for diverse client communities. A top priority of disaster work in the legal services space involves ensuring that vulnerable populations, who often face the worst outcomes in a disaster, receive the services and support they need.

Making Equal Justice "Newsy"

Available Materials

Kathryn Fanlund, Legal Services Corporation, Washington, DC
Carl Rauscher, Legal Services Corporation, Washington, DC
Alan Zagier, Tightline Public Affairs, St. Louis, MO

This session will focus on practical strategies to get economic and equal justice initiatives noticed and promoted by reporters, editors and social media outlets. We’ll look at real world examples of identifying news cycles and framing initiatives to fit within them, localizing national trends, finding compelling ways to humanize equal and economic justice issues, and using social media to reach out to reporters. We’ll also explore services that communications and public relations firms can offer in ad hoc or continuing relationships.

Medical Debt: A multi-faceted Approach to Tackling a Growing Problem.

Available Materials

Joy K. Dockter, Central California Legal Services, Inc., Fresno, CA
Tashara Kuspa, Central California Legal Services, Inc., Fresno, CA
Cori Racela, Western Center on Law and Poverty, Los Angeles, CA

While protections exist for low-income populations facing medical debt, knowledge of these laws is limited. Even rarer is systemic advocacy to fight hospitals that routinely flout consumer rights. This session will examine a multi-faceted approach to this issue, explore case studies and conclude with a round-table discussion on best practices.

MIE: Learning to Make Pizza Dough (or other new things) During the Pandemic

Available Materials

Emily Hickman, Indiana Legal Services, Indianapolis, IN
Christine Miller, Esq., Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, Inc., Las Vegas, NV
Patricia Pap, Moderator,, Management Information Exchange, Boston, MA
Alisa L. Parker, Legal Services of South Central Michigan, Battle Creek, MI
Pat Wrona, CARPLS Legal Aid, Chicago, IL

From the pages of the MIE Journal and recent training events, MIE has plucked innovators in the legal aid community for this session. They will highlight their new ideas and activities which blossomed during the pandemic. Join us for several inspiring brief presentations with resource materials. Topics will include the creation of a new digital design and media coordinator position; legal BOTS; race equity conversations and initiatives; and social workers on staff with a wellness calendar.

Minding the Gap: Addressing Inequity & Disparity in Disaster Legal Services

Available Materials

Katherine Asaro, North Carolina Legal Assistance Foundation, Raleigh, NC
Tiela Chalmers, Alameda County Bar Association and Legal Access Alameda, Oakland, CA
Iris Peoples Green, Disability Rights North Carolina, Raleigh, NC
Cheryl Naja, Alston & Bird, Charlotte, NC
Jeanne Ortiz-Ortiz, Pro Bono Net, New York, NY

Disaster recovery can be challenging to many underrepresented survivors, who often have more barriers than others to overcome. Learn about the disparities in impact and services provided in specific disaster areas, practices that programs can implement for successful legal service delivery, and the key elements of equitable rapid response models.

Networking for Justice: Strategies for Developing New Relationships

Available Materials

Katherine Alteneder, Self-Represented Litigation Network (SRLN), Washington, DC
Amanda L. Brown, Lagniappe Law Lab, New Orleans, LA
Angela S. Tripp, Michigan Legal Help Program, Ypsilanti, MI
Miguel Willis, Future of the Profession Initiative, Philadelphia, PA

The Justice for All initiative advances a framework for building new and diverse coalitions. Building authentic, trusting relationships with new communities and individuals requires intention and an openness to learning about perspectives different from one's own. This session will showcase successful and innovative approaches from three Justice for All states to building new coalitions and diverse relationships in Alaska, Michigan, and Louisiana, as well as provide tips about how to integrate intentional networking strategies to advance systemic change and justice. Time will be allotted for attendees to break into small groups to develop plans of how to strengthen and expand networks in their communities.

New York’s Equal Justice in the Courts Initiative: Strategies for Advancing Race Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for Court Staff and for Court Users

Available Materials

Prof. Rachel Godsil, Perception Institute, Newark, NJ
Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson, New York State Unified Court System, New York, NY

Racial inequity is weaved into the fabric of American culture, into our institutions and, therefore, into our courts. The impact of race on individual realities and successes are deep and pervasive. In early June 2020, former Obama administration Director of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson conducted an independent “Equal Justice Review” of our court system’s policies and practices as they relate to issues of racial bias and fairness in our courts. Secretary Johnson's 100-page report sets forth 13 recommendations aimed at advancing diversity and inclusion within the court system and ensuring equal justice under the law. Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Edwina G. Mendelson is leading the implementation of the New York State Court’s Equal Justice Initiative, tasked with implementing the recommendations of the Special Adviser. A race equity framework that clearly defines the differences between individual, institutional and structural racism, and that recognizes the history and current day inequities that flow from that history, has strong applications for other marginalized groups. Acknowledging these truths, we have undertaken an intersectional approach to effectuating change. Through an interactive discussion this workshop will detail the planning process New York has engaged in and the resulting strategic action plan for effectuating a system wide change to enhance diversity, inclusion, fairness and that promotes equal justice for all.

Online Forms Are Cornerstones For Access: In Good Times And In Bad Times

Available Materials

Laurie Garber, Northwest Justice Project, Seattle, WA
Claudia Johnson, Law Help Interactive, Richland, WA
LaDierdre McKinney, Michigan Poverty Law Program, Kalamazoo, MI

In 2020, the world was shut down due to Covid 19. The problems created by poverty and lack of legal representation did not stop, in fact for many, new problems developed, including DV, hunger, housing insecurity as it tends to happen in economic crisis. In this workshop will provide two examples from two very different states of how well developed and managed online forms projects play a vital role during emergencies and disasters--as well to meet pent up demand by those who can’t afford attorneys and representation. We will look at how forms are placed in a context of reducing barriers for those in need and share approaches that are helping 10,000s of people in need across multiple areas of civil law--including housing, family law, protection from abuse, benefits, etc. Laurie Garber and LaDeidre Mckinney who manage two of the most successful online projects in the US --will share on partnership, and incrementally growing a collection that automates how they place their forms in the online universe to make it helpful and relevant to all, starting from simple to complex.

Overcoming Covid And Other Barriers In Delivering Legal Services To Older Adults

Available Materials

Dave Ballard, Alaska Legal Services Corporation, Fairbanks, AK
Steven Palmer, Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc., Rochester, NY

The COVID-19 pandemic compounded the existing barriers to serving hard to reach older adults with legal needs, including elder abuse victims, and those in rural and remote communities and in nursing homes. This session will discuss the challenges, innovative outreach strategies, and practical legal service delivery tips to overcome the barriers.

Workshop Sessions P-S

Practical Techniques for Trauma-Informed Advocacy

Available Materials

Geoff Kagan-Trenchard, n/a, New York, NY
Lorilei Williams, Southern Poverty Law Center, New York, NY

Divisive rhetoric and policies driven by the highest office in our country have fundamentally altered how we serve our clients for the past four years -- especially our clients of color. This ongoing tension and trauma is the undercurrent of every aspect of anti-poverty legal advocacy. The vast majority of individuals involved with these court systems have histories of trauma, and the legal system itself all too often compounds and exacerbates that trauma. In this session, we'll share the latest research in neuropsychology and what it can tell us about how our lived-experiences change the way we move through the world. After the presentation, we'll collectively discuss ways to support ourselves and our colleagues in this vital and difficult work and workshop strategies to normalize a trauma-informed approach to our work.

Pro Bono Immigration Services Using Remote Resources: Helping Local Communities and Faraway Detainees

Available Materials

Rex Chen, Legal Services NYC, New York, NY
Michelle Mendez, CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network), Washington, DC
Adonia Simpson, Americans for Immigrant Justice, Miami, FL

Remote pro bono immigration services have expanded in the past few years, either to reach communities during the pandemic or to create capacity to help detainees the government holds in isolated areas. Learn from Miami organizations who adapted to the pandemic in doing remote naturalization clinics and Know Your Rights presentations for underserved communities. See how organizations and law firms around the country helped pro bono lawyers help dozens of immigrant raid victims detained far away by using a platform that later helped thousands seeking credible fear interviews

Procedural Justice in Civil, Criminal and Traffic Courts

Available Materials

Danielle Hirsch, National Center for State Courts, Denver, CO
Emily LaGratta, LaGratta Consulting LLC, New York, NY
Dieter Tejada, National Justice Impact Bar Association, New York, NY

This session will examine how advocates can work with courts and judges to implement tenets of procedural justice, made even more prescient during the current moment in the throes of the pandemic, the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many others and the increased racial equity protests and the anticipation of increased high volume dockets (including evictions, mortgage foreclosures).

Providing Culturally Competent Legal Services to LGBTQ+ and Elder Clients

Available Materials

Michelle Garcia, New Mexico Legal Aid, Santa Fe, NM
Jane Handley, Indiana Legal Services, Indianapolis, IN
Elisabeth Hieber, Center for Disability & Elder Law, Chicago, IL
Brittany Jeffries, Legal Assistance of Western New York, Ithaca, NY
Ming Wong, National Center for Lesbian Rights, San Francisco, CA

Participants will get tools to increase their organizations’ capability to provide culturally competent services to LGBTQ+ clients with a particular focus on LGBTQ+ Elders. Panelists will share strategies and innovative practices, including outreach and intake, to build trust and effectively provide legal services to LGBTQ+ clients, especially elders. Participants will then have a chance to apply this information in interactive activities and small group discussions.

Public Review of Revisions to the ABA Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid

Available Materials

Ted Howard, ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, Chicago, IL
Nikole Nelson, Alaska Legal Services Corporation, Anchorage, AK

The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense undertook a revision of its Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid and will be presenting them here for the legal aid community to give final input before submission to the ABA House of Delegates for adoption.

Regulatory Reform & Opportunities to Empower People Experiencing Medical Debt .

Available Materials

Stacy Butler, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, Tucson, AZ
Emmie Gardner, Holy Cross Ministries, Salt Lake City, UT
Justice Constandinos (Deno) Himonas, Utah State Supreme Court, Salt Lake City, UT

As Utah launched its new regulatory Sandbox, the Innovation for Justice Program partnered with Utah courts and community-based organizations on a year-long project designed to create new Sandbox-based services for Utahns experiencing medical debt. In this session, we’ll discuss the project from the court, non-profit and research perspectives and share strategies for designing and launching lab-validated, Sandbox-ready interventions designed to provide non-lawyer legal assistance to underrepresented populations.

Silver Linings Playbook: A Roundtable of COVID-19 Lessons That Became Pro Bono Best Practices

Available Materials

Lise Adams, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, Washington, DC
Paul Lee, Steptoe & Johnson, Washington, DC
Nancy Lopez, Washington Council of Lawyers, Washington, DC
Sara Tennen, D.C. Volunteer Lawyers Project, Washington, DC

COVID-19 required legal services providers and pro bono volunteers to pivot to new ways of recruiting and training volunteers, securely connecting with clients, and appearing in court. Together we will explore the innovations, tips, and lessons learned that can improve the delivery of legal services in the post-pandemic world.

State Legislative Funding Roundtable

Available Materials

Shubi Deoras, ABA, Chicago, IL

This interactive session will include reports on developments related to state legislative funding initiatives aimed at increasing resources for civil legal aid. Updates will be provided on the ABA's data collection process to support funding efforts and on potential federal funding, including COVID-19 relief funding, that might be available at the state or local advocacy levels. Participants will be able to share developments in their states and learn from others about what has worked, and what has not worked, in raising state legislative funding and accessing potential federal funding.

Stopping Sexual Harassment of Tenants

Available Materials

Tamar Hagler, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC
Rosalina Spencer, Fair Housing Center of Legal Aid Society of San Diego, San Diego, CA
Renee Williams, National Housing Law Project, Washington, DC

In this interactive session, hear and brainstorm tips for investigating and litigating allegations that tenants have been sexually harassed by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, or others. Discuss options ranging from filing administrative complaints to pursuing federal fair housing lawsuits, and leave with useful, actionable, ways to tackle these issues.

Supporting Black-Led Organizations: Pro Bono Models for Organizational Capacity-Building

Available Materials

Shannon Calamia, Perkins Coie LLP, Palo Alto, CA
De'Zhon Grace, The Greenlining Institute, Oakland, CA
Donna Hilliard, Code Tenderloin, San Franciso, CA
Maria Judice, Code Tenderloin, San Francisco, CA
Jay Lee, Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Heather Sager, Perkins Coie LLP, San Francisco, CA

Black-led organizations (BLOs)—nonprofits led by Black staff and/or board leaders—serve as the backbone for communities of color, but have historically been neglected by the pro bono sector. Leaders from BLOs, community foundations, and legal services organizations will discuss how pro bono attorneys can support and strengthen BLOs.

Supporting Clients to Manage their Own Finances with Decision Supports

Available Materials

David Godfrey, ABA Commission on Law and Aging, Washington, DC
Ronald Long, Wells Fargo, St. Louis, MO
Tina Smith Nelson, Legal Counsel for the Elderly, Washington, DC
Morgan K. Whitlatch, Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities, Washington, DC

Join legal services attorneys and a banking professional to explore financial decision supports. Individuals with disabilities have the right to manage their finances according to their values and preferences, with safeguards against exploitation. We will examine a range of supports, including supported decision-making, powers of attorney, representative payees, and guardians.

Workshop Sessions T-Z

Technology Initiative Grant Showcase 2021: A Review of Top Legal Aid Tech Projects

Available Materials

David Bonebrake, Legal Services Corporation, Washington, DC
Glenn Rawdon, Legal Services Corporation, Washington, DC
Jane Ribadeneyra, Legal Services Corporation, Washington, DC

Each year, the Legal Services Corporation awards Technology Initiative Grants (TIGs) within the legal services community. This session will highlight several of the most interesting and successful projects from the past few grant cycles. TIG staff will discuss many aspects of these projects, including timelines, budgets, contractors, and practical tips for anyone wishing to replicate the projects. We'll prioritize TIG successes that hold substantial potential for the broader legal services community.

The End of Denial: Paying for Race Equity in Legal Aid

Available Materials

Karl A. Doss, Legal Services Corporation of Virginia, Richmond, VA
Yvonne Mariajimenez, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County (NLSLA), Los Angeles, CA
Lillian M. Moy, Moderator,, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Albany, NY
Eve A. Stotland, The New York Community Trust, New York, NY
Betty Balli Torres, Texas Access to Justice Foundation, Austin, TX

What are philanthropists who want to use their funds to end inequity and racial injustice looking for? Do legal aid firms need special funding to address racial injustice? We may both be struggling with what it means to use a racial justice lens. What do we have in common? A panel at the intersection of how Legal Aid incorporates race equity and racial justice: public funder, private foundation and a legal services law firm.

Trauma-Informed Lawyering in Traumatic Times

Available Materials

Heather Freinkel, Homeless Action Center, Oakland, CA
Mary Gilg, Homeless Action Center, Oakland, CA
Nyla T. Moujaes, Homeless Action Center, Oakland, CA

We will discuss specific issues faced by homeless or housing-insecure clients; discuss what trauma is and how it has lasting impact on mental and physical health; and use a hypothetical and small groups to explore trauma-informed strategies to address the challenges of working with clients experiencing homelessness.

We Made a Commitment to Anti-Racism; Now What?!

Available Materials

Kimberly Merchant, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, Greensboro, MS
Reyna Rollolazo, TeamChild, Seattle, WA
Jennifer Werdell, JustLead Washington, Seattle, WA

A historic number of legal aid organizations are devoting resource to racial equity work. What next steps are needed to operationalize and live into our commitment in all facets of our work, from advocacy to internal operations? Through this interactive workshop we’ll share lessons learned from partnering with dozens of legal aid organizations in their organizational equity efforts. We’ll highlight practices that help integrate these commitments into the fabric of our organizations, from strategies to build more equitable workplace culture, to shifting human resources practices, to integrating a race equity analysis into all facets of decision-making. We’ll also be candid about what NOT to do and create space for participants to workshop next steps for generating strategic racial equity action plans at their own organizations.

What to Do When You Get Called In: Handling a Complaint of Bias or Harassment

Available Materials

Tanya Douglas, Manhattan Legal Services, New York, NY
Lillian M. Moy, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Albany, NY
Jennifer Werdell, JustLead Washington, Seattle, WA

As leaders/colleagues, bias incidents happen at work. How do you respond when a complaint is filed? How do you respond when the complaint is against you? Respond with grace and humility or go to the formal. What do you do first?

Why We Can't Wait: Training Pro Bono Volunteers on Institutional, Structural, and Systemic Racism

Available Materials

Caprice Jenerson, Office of the Appellate Defender, New York, NY
Kimberly Merchant, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, Chicago, IL
Ben Weinberg, Dentons, Chicago, IL

Legal Services providers reply on law firms to expand pro bono services as well as provide financial support. Many of our clients are people of color, immigrants, and indigenous people, impacted by institutional, structural, and systemic racism. How can law firms understand the impact of structural racism on the legal issues our clients face? Does this type of difficult training make it harder to access and increase law firm support? A candid discussion between legal services and law firm representatives.

Zealous Advocacy without Burning Bridges: Balancing the Needs of Clients, Firms, and Pro Bono Attorneys

Available Materials

Marisol Chianello, Learning Rights Law Center, Glendale, CA
Holly L. Christian, Swords to Plowshares, San Francisco, CA
Elica Vafaie, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco, CA

When trying best to serve clients, LSO pro bono managers can face issues stemming from insufficient cultural and legal competency by volunteers and the unbalanced power dynamic with firms. In this interactive panel, the audience will pose management issues they experience, and we’ll collectively brainstorm solutions to our common concerns.