Best web tools of 2018
This was a breakout year for legal technology on the web, from subscription services to access-to-justice helpers. Our judges and readers all had their own favorites. Let us know about yours.
Legal aid agencies, courts and law schools use this Chicago-Kent College of Law product to guide client interviews and fulfill the needs of low-income and working-poor clients. Miguel Willis, a Law School Admission Council fellow and 2018 Legal Rebel, says the website “has been instrumental in advancing innovation at legal aid organizations throughout America.”
A secure website records sexual assault instances confidentially, lets victims decide whether or how to report them and flags potential repeat offenders. On college campuses, use of the site brought more incident reports and requests for medical or other services. In 2018, plans were announced to develop a version to document workplace harassment.
The Free Law Project’s circuit court monitor now picks up most state appellate decisions, as well as oral argument recordings for the U.S. Supreme Court and federal appeals courts. The “new notification feature makes this really powerful for lawyers and reporters,” says Sam Harden, project manager at the Florida Justice Technology Center.
Live chat and e-signatures are features of this free server software for client intake. “This is becoming the definitive open-source tool for guided interviews,” Harden says.
Joshua Browder’s “robot lawyer” iOS app is drawing the same criticisms on technical, legal and ethical fronts as his former small-claims website did. But it may yet fill a niche for pro se consumer complaints. “If you’re looking to fight a parking ticket or obtain a flight refund, this app will provide you with the necessary information and walk you through the process,” says MyCase legal technology specialist and 2009 Legal Rebel Nicole Black.
Librarians are trained to assist patrons with the legal and social-service checkup website of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services.
Some 2,300 New York City households have used the JustFix.nyc website to build a case for landlord repairs, housing court or tenant gr
Community Lawyer’s flat-fee service builds chatbots, client intake and document assembly programs for lawyer websites. A Chicago Bar Association committee is working with the service for a legal health checkup, says Jessica Bednarz of the Chicago Bar Foundation.
Chatbots for law firm and legal aid websites answer questions, speed client intake and identify legal issues. Willis says the automation tool is “extremely user-friendly.”
MyCase co-founder Matt Spiegel built this customer relationship manager for law firms. Features includes email marketing, client intake and e-signature features.
AffiniPay’s credit card processor for lawyers separates account and trust fees to comply with ethics guidelines on commingling of funds.
A lead conversion and intake tool integrates with Clio, MailChimp, Ruby and other task managers to nudge prospects in a lawyer’s pipeline. Clio acquired Lexicata in October.
Web tools judges
Andrew Arruda is CEO and co-founder of the artificial intelligence company Ross Intelligence.
Jessica Bednarz is director of innovation and training for the Chicago Bar Foundation Justice Entrepreneurs Project.
Nicole Black is the legal technology evangelist at MyCase. She has authored several books and writes regular columns for ABAJournal.com, The Daily Record, Above the Law and Legal IT Pros.
Sam Harden is a project manager for the Florida Justice Technology Center, developing applications and solutions for legal organizations, and at Measures for Justice, which assesses the performance of the U.S. criminal justice system.
Miguel Willis is the founder and program director of the Access to Justice Technology Fellows Program and the inaugural Law School Admission Council Presidential Innovation Fellow. He is also a 2018 ABA Journal Legal Rebel.