LAAC’s Tech Survey
To follow up the 2016 Legal Services Tech Summit, LAAC distributed a survey of organizations’ choices on technological needs. The survey asked whether organizations were satisfied with each choice and whether they were planning to transition away to different solutions. 49 responses were received, and some results are shown here. We’ve prepared a report that compares responses to key categories grouped by budget size. Detailed data is available upon request.
If you have ideas or requests for LAAC, please let us know!
What can we do to serve the community? What type of activity do you envision (for example, a facilitated conversation)?
Please request detailed data, or provide feedback to Safia Kartoum, LAAC Program Associate firstname.lastname@example.org
Next LAAC Tech Survey
LAAC will be contacting organizations, in the Fall of 2018, to collect updated data for the January 2019 report. This report will include updates and changes to the last Tech Survey.
Practice and Case Management Software
Practice and case management software helps businesses and nonprofits manage cases electronically rather than reliance upon paper file case management. There is a range of case management software available which may provide multiple tools such as:
- calendaring and docketing
- client appointment notes
- client phone call and voicemail notes
- conflict checks
- contact management
- document assembly
- time and billing
Case management software typically includes an online intake form. Learn more about practice and case management software from the American Bar Association Law Practice Division. Online intake forms provide a method to collect client data (detailed client information and legal issue) directly into a database. Learn more about online intake.
Please carefully consider the values of these individual vendors when selecting a service to use. Legal Aid Association of California does not endorse specific vendors. The information provided below was collected from member organizations and is not an endorsement of a particular vendor. Some vendors may embrace the values of the legal aid community while others may not. Please be sure to conduct due diligence in researching the vendors listed below. When there is a choice between vendors, we all hope to support those that embrace our values and who also pledge to fight poverty instead of supporting structures that increase poverty.
Common case management vendors include: Abacus Law, Amicus Attorney, Any Time Organizer, Cityspan, Clio, DataFlex, FileMaker Pro Advanced (which has replaced FileMaker Pro), Legal Files, Legal Server, LawLogix, Matrix, Microsoft Access, Kemp’s Case Works PRIME 16, Pika, ProLaw, SalesForce and Time Matters.
Case Management Software & Vendor Survey Results
- All 9 Pika users were satisfied; none of them were planning to transition away
- Of the 12 Kemps users, none of them were very satisfied, and 4 were unsatisfied; 2 of them were planning to transition away
- Organizations using custom or other case management systems were more likely to be unsatisfied than organizations using Pika or Kemps
15 organizations – Kemp’s Case Works PRIME 16
11 organizations – Pika
7 organizations – Custom vendors such as Cityspan, Matrix, DataFlex
5 organizations – Microsoft Access
4 organizations – Clio
4 organizations – Time Matters
3 organizations – Legal Server
3 organizations – SalesForce
3 organizations – Abacus Law
2 organizations – Amicus Attorney
2 organizations – ProLaw
2 organizations – FileMakerPro
2 organizations – Legal Files
1 organizations – Anytime Organizer
1 organizations – LawLogix
Email client refers to the computer program, an individual or organization uses to read, organize and send email. Popular email clients include Apple Mail , Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird. These programs allow users to access their email on a desktop computer. Email remains accessible without internet access. Emails can be “backed up” with a stored copy housed on the desktop computer. These programs require updates, and regular anti-virus software scans. Staff can connect remotely to their organization’s server to access e-mail.
Popular web-based email clients are Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Microsoft Outlook. Web-based applications that access email on a server include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. Users are able to access their email using a web browser. The user must have internet access to access their email. Emails can be backed up in the email server. The service provider automatically scans emails for virus threats.
Email Client Survey Results
- Organizations on Outlook were only slightly more dissatisfied than organizations on Gmail
- Only one organization with Outlook and one with Gmail were exploring options to transition
File Server Management
A file server is the computer that provides central storage and management of data files, and provides access to these files to computers on the same network. Private networks require the user to obtain permission to access the network through the use of credentials (username and password). The network administrator, typically the staff member responsible for Information and Technology Management sets these permissions.
File Server Management Survey Results
- Organizations using their own file server were more dissatisfied than organizations on the cloud
- Nine organizations are open to alternatives to hosting their own file server, and an additional four are already in transition
Cloud file storage is a way to store data and allows for simultaneous access by multiple users. Rather than having physical hardware in the office the information is managed by technology companies such as Amazon and Google.
Thinking About the Cloud?
State Bar Resources
“Examples of cloud computing include online backup services, social networking services, personal data services, and online applications.”
“[The] Ethics and Technology page is a collection of resources addressing attorney professional responsibility issues that arise in connection with the use of Internet websites, email, chat rooms and other technologies.”
American Bar Association Resources
“Diligent research, careful crafting of arguments and documents, and persuasive advocacy on behalf of a client are all core elements of the practice of law. But most attorneys will admit that they spend a frustrating portion of their working hours away from those duties, focused instead on the mundane but necessary business and clerical responsibilities of a working law practice. To handle these responsibilities, attorneys turn to specialized software developed for the legal industry”
“LSNTAP helps nonprofit legal aid programs improve client services through effective and innovative use of technology. To do this, we provide technology training, maintain information, create online tools, and host community forums.”
Legal Services National Technology Assistance Project Resources
“Policies you should have are acceptable use policy, data retention/destruction, data storage, just to name a few.”
“Don’t let cybersecurity become the next digital divide! Learn about the privacy and security implications that arise when lower-income individuals increasingly have to use tech and mobile-enabled tools for accessing justice.”
Google Suite (G-Suite) Learning Center Resources
“In the past, you might’ve used the C:\ drive on your Microsoft® Windows® computer to store your files. Now that you have access to Google Drive, here are some tips to begin using it as your new cloud-storage solution.”
We know ensuring clients’ data is secure is a top priority for legal aid. This is especially true as the legal landscape around immigration evolves. Evaluating and improving the security of all of your systems is an important practice. Here are some resources to help:
At LAAC’s March 2017, Legal Aid Technology Summit, Ken Montenegro of Asian American Advancing Justice presented an excellent training. Check out his slides here Data Stewardship & Security for Legal Services Entities.
Immigration Advocates Network Nonprofit Resource Center with Round Table Technology has developed free digital security assessment tools, which are a great place to start. These Digital Security Assessment Survey tools provide custom recommendations and resources based on your answers.
*Please note that technology changes rapidly, so be conscious of the potential for the landscape to change since the time these resources were developed.
Offers for Nonprofits
- up to $10,000 per month in value of online ad clicks (maximum of $2 per click) through their Ad Grants.
- free version of the Google Apps business productivity suite, including Gmail, Drive, Docs, Calendar
- best practices: be mobile-friendly, keep spam guidelines in mind, and shape your design around the purpose
Nonprofit Technology News
Nonprofit Tech for Good focuses on providing valuable, easy-to-understand information, news, and resources related to nonprofit technology, online communication, and mobile and social fundraising.
Donorbox is a company that produces powerful fundraising software that is super simple to setup and attracts recurring donors. Donorbox maintains a blog with nonprofit guidance on registering a 501c3; tips for donor engagement; best practices for fundraising, and more.
Whole Whale’s Goal? Using Technology to Boost Nonprofits learn more about how to supercharge your nonprofit with technology from Whole Whale
Whole Whale is a social-impact–focused digital agency that looks at how to leverage existing resources to maximize impact and reduce waste. Learn more here About Whole Whale
Nonprofit Hub is an online educational community dedicated to giving nonprofits everything they need to better their organizations and communities including branding strategies, fundraising ideas, best use of media tools, nonprofit collaboration strategies.
Tech Radar is part of Future plc, an international media group and leading digital publisher.