Finding relevant, case-specific, jurisdiction-accurate legal information online can be a challenge. Legal information portals aim to change that. The Legal Navigator portal pilots in Alaska and Hawaii hope to provide an exhaustive resource that helps a user ask, refine, learn, and connect as they navigate a legal issue. The Legal Navigator has several features that support a non-expert seeking legal help. The technology was built with a mobile-first approach, making the technology easy to use for individuals seeking legal information on their cellphones. The Legal Navigator is an open-source tool, making the technology accessible for future projects and any courts hoping to implement it. The session also explored the assessment of the Navigator’s use, effectiveness, and cost through an evaluation framework. The ultimate goal of the evaluation framework is to understand which pathways are most efficient and effective. The session described the project from concept to pilot, discussed plans and enhancements for future portal projects, and considered the challenges and opportunities of evaluating such efforts. Ultimately, the opportunities the portal provides extend beyond the legal domain to the social services and health fields. Collecting data on help seeking behavior for legal problems offers an opportunity to highlight unmet needs that can drive public policy change more broadly. 

Read the full summary for this working session.