On document assembly…

July 7, 2008

Next up – because of the few comments to the last post – is the use of document assembly in legal aid programs.

The baseline recommendations about document production (page 6 of the report) suggest that programs use document assembly and train staff in its use. Under “important considerations,” it notes:

“Several factors affect the degree to which document assembly software is useful to advocates and is used by them.

  • Advocates must be fully trained in its use
  • The content needs to be accurate and kept up-to-date and responsive to the needs of the advocate in serving clients

Consider as part of document assembly the effective use of substantive law software, such as child support calculation tools, and bankruptcy calculation tools.”

If you have input to give about document assembly, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Here are some questions to get you started (pick and choose at will – or raise things we haven’t thought of):

  • Is your program using document assembly? Why or why not?
  • What systems are they using?
  • How has training gone?
  • How have you kept content up to date?
  • How have you staffed document assembly related work?
  • What have been your successes and failures?
  • What you encountered specific stumbling blocks adopting this technology?
  • What have been barriers to adoption?

On Electronic Records Management

June 19, 2008

Our June 2 post generated discussion about the usefulness of the Baseline Report, but it didn’t inspire discussion of the guidelines themselves. We’d like to give community members an opportunity to ask questions and offer their own experiences with various technologies mentioned in the report. (NOTE: If there are specific areas of the report you want to discuss, comment here!)

First up is the implementation of electronic records management.

The baseline recommendations about records management (pages 7 and 8 of the report) suggest that programs must have

  • Capacity for filing all electronic records, retaining them, assuring their accessibility and properly disposing of them when appropriate” including email, instant message and transcribed or recorded conversations,
  • Policies that govern permissions or access rights to electronic files, including the right
    to view, edit, move or rename files,
  • The records management system must be compliant with LSC and all other legal requirements in the maintenance of records, including the confidentiality of client records

If you have input to give about electronic records management, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Here are some questions to get you started (pick and choose at will – or raise things we haven’t thought of):

  • Does your program have a coherent records management plan? Why or why not?
  • What systems and policies are in place?
  • How has training gone (and are staff actually complying)?
  • How is the effort staffed?
  • What have been your successes and failures?
  • What you encountered specific stumbling blocks implementing records management?
  • What have been barriers to adoption?

About the Baseline Report

June 2, 2008

Last month, LSC released “Technologies That Should be in Place In Legal Aid Office Today”, which is an effort to describe “baseline technologies for any legal aid office that provides a full range of legal services.” The report defines which technologies should be in place in legal aid programs, lists important functions for each technology and considerations in choosing specific applications, and provides sources of additional information about each.

We’d like to host a discussion here about the baseline report, starting with initial responses and – depending on how this post goes – moving on to more focused conversation in subsequent posts.

Please share your questions, concerns and general thoughts by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post.

Blog Administrivia:

  • WordPress asks for a name and email address when you comment, but you can leave those fields blank if you wish to remain anonymous.
  • We will be moderating comments, but only to filter spam (which is increasingly a problem when you enable anonymous posts).
  • Questions or comments? Email eva@lsntap.org

Why LSNTAP.wordpress.com?

June 2, 2008

Sometimes it helps to have anonymous discussion of topics which may be important to the legal aid community. For various reasons, we can’t host anonymous discussions at LSNTAP.org — you have to be logged in to post there.

At LSTNAP.wordpress.com, however, we’re going to enable anonymous posting. We’ll post about our first topic – LSC’s Baseline Technology Report – shortly.

IMPORTANT: We’ll be moderating comments to control spam, so it may take a couple hours or even a day for your comment to appear on this blog.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.