Innovative Technology to Better Serve Clients


(Top) IT Operations Manager Karthik Devarajan (right) with IT Director Josh Lazar from Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, (Center) Chief Attorney Sarah Coffey Frush before her presentation. (Bottom) Web Developer Russ Bloomquist presenting about using public data to better serve clients.

(Top) IT Operations Manager Karthik Devarajan (right) with IT Director Josh Lazar from Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, (Center) Chief Attorney Sarah Coffey Frush before her presentation. (Bottom) Web Developer Russ Bloomquist presenting about using public data to better serve clients.

The Legal Services Corporation held its 2016 Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) Conference in San Antonio on January 13-15. Staff from Maryland Legal Aid attended the conference and presented about various ways technology impacts Maryland Legal Aid’s work.

Presenters included:

Russ Bloomquist, Web Developer – Discoverable Client Issues Using Public Big Data (co-presented with Matthew Stubenberg from Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service)

Karthik Devarajan, IT Operations Manager – Both Sides Now – A Discussion of Private and Public Cloud Infrastructure (co-presented with Josh Lazar from Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida)

Sarah Coffey Frush, Chief Attorney – Remote Services: The Key to a Robust Access to Justice Ecosystem (co-presented with Katherine Alteneder from Self-Represented Litigation Network and John Greacen from Greacen Associates, LLC)

“This conference was a fulfilling experience,” shared Karthik Devarajan. “Besides learning and networking with other like-minded people, I was able to understand how other legal services organizations address key issues that concern them. I brought back new ideas and methodologies that I hope to use this year.”

The Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission shared their admiration via Twitter about Maryland Legal Aid’s partnership with Maryland District Courts to staff the Self-Help Resource Centers.

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Russ Bloomquist shared, “Maryland Legal Aid really represented this year and presented about very innovative approaches to providing legal services and the technical backbone that makes it all possible.” Russ and former Maryland Legal Aid attorney Matthew Stubenberg spoke about the TRACE program, which they developed to provide advocates a more comprehensive look at the issues current and potential clients face.

TRACE (Targeted Robotic Automated Client Evaluator) is a program that currently runs in conjunction with Maryland Legal Aid’s online intake. The program uses the name, address, and date of birth of an applicant and runs it through a series of public databases to identify potential legal issues that could affect the applicant including expungeable records, unpaid taxes, and overdue water bills.