This past week, I was on a panel at the Legal Services Corporation's Technology Innovation Grants conference in San Antonio. The panel included myself, Tanina Rostain of Georgetown Law, Mark O'Brien of Probono.net, and Keith Porcaro of SIMLab. There we discussed the greater ecosystem surrounding the legal tech movement and legal aid. While I intended to use this post as an opportunity to talk about my presentation looking at various expungement app projects and their SEO, my larger takeaway was, in fact, Keith's presentation. It was clean, concise, and on point in a way I've seen few people discuss technology pertaining to legal and social services.
Keith's talk was like coming up for air. As I work on projects and think about implementation issues, I easily get lost in the weeds. Keith's presentation, however, took a needed step back and told a room full of lawyers and technologists that their problem was most likely not technology. Instead, Keith argues, the problem is more likely information architecture or an analogue process. Further, and this is something I've thought a lot about, Keith made a strong point that using technology is not itself a bar to success. I agree. Implementing technology in a way that improves services and makes people's lives better is how we should grade ourselves.
I could continue to fawn over Keith's presentation, but I'll save you. Keith was kind enough to lend me his deck and notes. I've posted them here for your enjoyment. If your browser isn't showing Keith's notes, you can download the file through the hyperlink below.