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June 19, 2018

Boston Team Assisting Mass. Appleseed with ‘Turning on the Lights’

BOSTON – Seventeen Boston attorneys and staff are assisting Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law & Justice with its Access to Justice initiative, “Turning on the Lights,” which seeks to use technology and other innovative approaches to ensure that civil court users, and particularly self-represented litigants, are able to engage with the civil legal system in a way that is effective, efficient, respectful, and empowering to the litigant.

The cornerstone of the initiative is a project being undertaken with the permission of the Massachusetts Trial Court that involves making recommendations to the Court regarding the design and creation of an interactive and user-friendly online court help center. The recommendations will be built around the identified needs of self-represented litigants and will incorporate cutting-edge technological features to illuminate and simplify the now-confusing experience of navigating civil court processes without the assistance of an attorney.

“Turning on the Lights” reflects Appleseed’s belief that user-focused technology, together with creative, practical, and community-oriented solutions, can make a significant impact in realizing the larger goal of meaningful access to justice for all. Along with substantive project components, Appleseed aspires to use “Turning on the Lights” as a vehicle for changing the conversation about closing the justice gap.

Those recently undergoing training on the project were Colin Barrett, Patrick Uiterwyk, Peter Haley, Kevin Polansky, Tom Hayman, Melanie Todman, Kate Bergeron, James Rollins, Steven Joseph, Kevin Canning, Anita Costa, Greg May, Michael Steinberg, Jill Sloper, Anna Oh, Jennifer Roma, and Erika Wallace. With guidance from Melanie Todman, who serves on the organization’s Board of Directors, the firm also will be conducting phone/in person interviews of approximately 60 identified statewide stakeholders familiar with issues related to the subject matter. The firm also assisted with developing two additional online surveys for the court and another 200 stakeholders. 

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