Equal Justice Conference

The 2014 Equal Justice Conference, hosted annually by the American Bar Association and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, was held in Portland, Oregon April 30 – May 3.  AOC Director Marla Moore, and staff members Tracy Mason and Erin Oakley, attended the conference and spent time learning about innovative solutions and projects being used around the country to enhance access to the courts for self-represented litigants.  Other Georgia attendees included representatives from Georgia Legal Services Program, the State Bar of Georgia, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, and several law firms.

A number of break-out sessions focused on ways to use online tools and remote services to provide resources for clients and court users.  “Innovative Uses of Video & PowerPoint to Increase Access to Justice” demonstrated how YouTube Video Editor and Google Forms can be used to provide information in alternative media formats, including the use of captioning and surveys. Projects were highlighted from Connecticut, Arkansas, and Alaska. A session entitled “Self-Represented Litigation Network [SRLN] Research and Evaluation Update” highlighted the SRLN’s 12-month Remote Services Study which assessed the use of remote services at eight programs around the country, to produce a resource handbook to support the design of these types of systems in other areas.  “Language Access: When Translation is Not Enough” showcased work being done by the Northwest Justice Project and others to create accessible digital content for persons with disabilities. Other sessions focused on the use of social media to expand the use of a court or program’s online resources.

A highlight of the conference was the opening address at Friday’s Awards Presentation and Luncheon.  Oregon Chief Justice Thomas A. Balmer welcomed conference attendees, commending all for their work and encouraging everyone to explore and enjoy the city of Portland.  Additionally, AOC staff had the opportunity to meet with Jon Greacen, Court Consultant, about his work with the AOC and Georgia Legal Services Program to complete the Legal Services Corporation’s Technology Initiative Grant application.
For more information on the EJC, visit www.equaljusticeconference.org.

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