2012 LSC/TIG Conference January 11-13, 2012 - Albuquerque, New Mexico

The US Legal Services Corp (LSC), through its Technology Initiative Grant (TIC), has been hosting these networking and innovation  conferences since 2007 but this is the first time it has moved away from it's typical Austin location to New Mexico this coming year.

From The TIG/LSC website: (You should also check out the rich repository of past conference materials here)

Namati's Website is in Beta!

Namati is a new Legal Empowerment organization I have heard a lot about while it is in the works to being launched. Through esteemed colleagues in the Legal Empwerment/Access to Justice field- like Stephen Golub, Martin Mgramatikov and the microjustice network- I've been looking forward to its web presence, and finally it's here in Beta.

You can access it at http://namati.org (The administrators are asking for user feedback so do particulate if you have any thoughts about how to make it even better.)

Update: 1/15/12: This is what Namati's first blog post is:
Welcome! Namati strives to foster dialogue, knowledge-sharing and, ultimately, a movement for legal empowerment worldwide.  Our Global Legal Empowerment Network will provide a platform for practitioners to share resources and experiences, including research, training materials, monitoring and evaluation tools, case management systems, and advocacy strategies.  In the coming weeks, we will be working on developing additional capacity-building opportunities for grassroots legal empowerment efforts. Stay tuned! 

World Bank hosts first Law, Justice and Development Week 2011 - Innovation and Empowerment for Development, November 14-17, Washington, DC

For the first time, Law, Justice and Development Week 2011 will be a Bank Group-wide event organized by the World Bank Legal Vice Presidency, IFC and MIGA Legal Departments, and ICSID. This will be a forum to explore how legal innovation and empowerment can contribute to development. Registration now open !

Study reports access to justice gaps in many South Pacific nations

via Access to Justice Blog by mgramatikov on 10/27/11

Recently published Needs evaluation survey by the South Pacific Lawyers Association reveal significant access to justice gaps in most of the studied countries:

Tools to Create an Unbundled-Orriented Lawyer Referral Service

via Richard Zorza's Access to Justice Blog by richardzorza on 10/31/11

The time is long past for every jurisdiction that allows unbundling — and of course now most do, to have such services available through lawyer referral and information services, ideally through a panel of the existing lawyer referral system. Lets face it, thats where the clients without lawyers enter into the system, and it is hard to understand why more LRIS do not offer this crucial affordability tool, particularly given the poll data on the public's interest in exploring the option.

About the MetaLex Document Server for legal information

via Legal Informatics Blog by legalinformatics

Dr. Rinke Hoekstra of the University of Amsterdam's Leibniz Center for Law has posted The MetaLex Document Server, on the VoxPopuLII blog, published by the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School. In this post, Dr. Hoekstra describes the technology of the MetaLex Document Server, a new service that provides free public access to Read more of this post.

20 Innovations in Legal Aid by the LSC

2011 Innovations Session Workshop Book Now Available!

At the 2011 Centennial NLADA Conference, Legal Services Corporation, AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly andManagement Information Exchange offered a series of presentations at a session titled Innovations in Civil Legal Services. The book by the same name features 20 innovations ranging from a PBS-aired documentary, to smartphone legal aid apps, to new approaches to intake, and many more.

Please click here to access the full version of the of the workshop book. The book is also broken up into sections below.

Addtionally, workshop books from 2007-2010 can be found here.

2011 Innovations Workshop book:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

The Fail Faire DC 2011 Impact: A Renaissance of Failure in ICT4D

via ICTWorks by Wayan Vota on 10/24/11

Two weeks ago, ICTworks led the organization of Fail Faire DC, an amazing celebration of failure as a mark of leadership, innovation, and risk-taking in pushing the boundaries of what is possible in scaling ideas from pilots to global programs.

Our goal was to continue the Fail Faire movement started by Mobile Active, and make failure more acceptable in the international development community. So far, the impact of Fail Faire DC 2011 is greater than we anticipated. Yes, the event itself was amazing, and others agree, but more importantly, it spawned a greater conversation around failure and the need to fail if we are to expand our profession.

Here is a quick tour of the Fail Faire DC impact to date:

World Bank's Law, Justice and Development E-Newsletter, September 2011

The newest Law, Justice and Development E-Newsletter is out. Started last year, this is a quarterly e-newsletter providing news, perspectives and events relating to Law, Justice and Development topics. It is produced by the World Bank's Legal Vice Presidency with contributions from experts inside and outside the World Bank.

Microjustice Initiative's 'Access to Justice' Handbook

In light of my previous post on the UNDP Paper on Evaluation Methodologies for Legal Empowerment, my colleague from Tilburg University informed me that Microjustice Initiative (with TISCO, HIIL and Microjustice Workplace) has published a new methodology on measuring access to justice. You can download it here

Essentially, it is one of the budding set of literature on measuring access to justice from the subjective perspective (ie, not using the usual top-down, World Bank-like indicators), and provides a detailed description, with questionnaires, for measuring access by aggregating individual experiences of the justice process. Very interesting to me how the field of 'legal empowerment' and 'access to justice' has grown, thanks in large part to the UN Commission of Legal Empowerment of the Poor

Frontline SMS Legal

I have been familiar with FrontlineSMS since my days at The Asia Foundation, and in fact have thought about using that technology on many occasions for our projects. I love the idea, but it was still in the rather early stages of deployment then. I recently talked to Sean McDonald today about FrontlineSMS Legal, which builds on the original core Frontline to expand functionality for people in the legal world, in particular, as a SMS-based case management system of sorts. Legal is still in the early stages of development, but I can't wait till I can see a beta version to help test it, using the Microjustice field offices. 

New Paper on 'What is Law and Development'

A good recent summary on the intersection of law and development. A parallel discussion to my previous post:  'Theories of Law and Development'

What is Law and Development?  Mariana Prado (Toronto Faculty of Law)

ABSTRACT: Law & Development studies have been growing in the past few years, after having its death declared in the 1070s. There is, however, very little clarity as to what this field of study encompasses or whether it is a field at all. Under the label of Law & Development one can find a wide variety of studies, approaches, analyses and topics. Some studies focus on formal institutions, discussing how enforcement of contracts, protection of property rights, and an independent judiciary protect investors and improve economic growth in developing countries. Others have not focused on economic development, but instead on how laws to protect women from abuses in the family and to create quotas to guarantee their participation in the public sphere have been largely ineffective due to deeply embedded social norms and value that cannot be changed by legislation (at least not from one day to the next). Still others have criticized the Law & Development discourse as another source of imperialism and dominance that justify senseless legal transplants from the North to the South.

American Bar Association eLawyering Website

It's more than just a web presence- read the fundamentals of providing legal services over the internet, as well as innovative best practices (with a US-slant of course): 

From the American Bar Association eLawyering website:

"How can I practice law over the Internet?" This web site will help you find answers to that question.

eLawyering is doing legal work - not just marketing - over the Web. Pioneering practitioners have found dramatic new ways to communicate and collaborate with clients and other lawyers, produce documents, settle disputes, interact with courts, and manage legal knowledge. ELawyering encompasses all the ways in which lawyers can do their work using the Web and associated technologies. Think of lawyering as a "verb" - interview, investigate, counsel, draft, advocate, analyze, negotiate, manage, .. - and there are corresponding Internet-based tools and technologies.

There are exciting initiatives underway now that deserve attention by all lawyers - present and future. While admittedly just a subset of the vast legal technology world, eLawyering and its lawyer-less analogs present fundamental challenges for our profession. There are great dangers, but also great opportunities for attorneys in the coming decade. To be successful in the coming era, lawyers will need to know how to practice over the Web, manage client relationships in cyberspace, and ethically offer "unbundled" services.

New Report on Customary Justice: Perspectives on Legal Empowerment

Leiden University and IDLO has partnered to produce a new report Customary Justice: Perspectives on Legal Empowerment. Very timely because customary legal systems have slowly gained importance over the last few years, and has usually been the first and last stop for justice for the poor and vulnerable. 

This edited volume explores the relationship between traditional justice and legal empowerment. It discusses key aspects of traditional justice, including the rise of customary law in justice sector reform, the effectiveness of hybrid justice systems, access to justice through community courts, customary law and land tenure, land rights and nature conservation, and the analysis of policy proposals for justice reforms based on traditional justice. The volume was developed in partnership with the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Development of Leiden University and features articles by some ten leading authors, country specialists and practitioners working in the areas of traditional justice and legal empowerment.

Top Human Rights Groups and Global Networks: A Primer

Microblogged from DevEx- one of my main sources of development information, on its list of what it considers to be the most renowned international organizations and networks focused on the promotion of human rights.:

The basic principles of human rights are ancient, but it’s only in the last 50 years or so that human rights organizations have begun to pop up. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, includes education, health care, food and many other areas of focus for the international development community. It’s no wonder, then, that aid groups are increasingly framing their work in the context of human rights, whether they advocate for sex workers’ rights or help boost primary school attendance. Highlighting human rights can broaden the scope and appeal of global activism and advocacy campaigns – and it may help secure funding at a time it is increasingly difficult to come by.

Berkman Center Series 11 July 2011: Cultivating New voices, Approaches, and Audiences for national - and international - reporting in an era of global interconnectedness and shrinking news budgets

The Berkman Center will host a conversation about the challenges of reporting international stories to US and Global audiences. In an age of shrinking news budgets, American newspapers and broadcasters are producing less original reporting of international stories. And while gripping events like the Arab Spring capture the attention of the public, many important international stories fail to garner widespread attention. The challenges for international reporting are both ones of supply (who reports the news from around the world?) and demand (who pays attention?).

This conversation was inspired by Berkman Fellow Persephone Miel, whose work focused on how compelling narrative and context for international stories could make unfamiliar international news more accessible to American and global audiences. Her efforts to support and promote talented local, non-US journalists whose work has the potential for global impact, but who need to overcome significant obstacles to succeed, are continued through a fellowship established in her honor by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, in partnership with Internews. Journalists Fatima Tlisova (Voice of America) and Pulitzer Prize winner Dele Olojede will join Ethan Zuckerman (Berkman Center/Global Voices), Colin Maclay (Berkman Center), Ivan Sigal (Global Voices), Jon Sawyer (Pulizter Center) and the Miel family for a discussion and reflection on these questions, and on Persephone's work and the journalistic values she championed. URL: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/node/6927

New paper on Legal Institutions, Innovation and Growth

Legal Institutions, Innovation and Growth

ABSTRACT: We analyze the relationship between legal institutions, innovation and growth. We compare a rigid (law set ex-ante) legal system and a flexible one (law set after observing current technology). The flexible system dominates in terms of welfare, amount of innovation and output growth at intermediate stages of technological development - periods when legal change is needed. The rigid system is preferable at early stages of technological development, when (lack of) commitment problems are severe. For mature technologies the two legal systems are equivalent. We find that rigid legal systems may induce excessive (greater than first-best) R&D investment and output growth.

Google search for 'Microjustice' - June 2011

Form time to time, I google certain concepts just to see how much they have taken off. From a term nonexistent in 2005, 'microjustice' today has11.400 entries, the top few which are as follows:
  • www.microjustice.org/
  • www.odemagazine.com/doc/62/microjustice/
  • www.microjusticeinitiative.org/
  • microjusticeworkplace.net/

Call for Papers: 2011 Law and Development Institute Conference

The Law and Development Institute (LDI) has put out a call for paper proposals for its 2011 annual conference, entitled, "Law and Development at the Microlevel: From Microtrade to Current Issues in Law and Development". The conference will be co-hosted with and held at the Seattle University School of Law in Washington on December 10, 2011. The LDI calls for papers on any aspect of microtrade, which is a new system of international trade designed to alleviate populations of least-developed countries of extreme poverty (for a concept paper, click here) as well as for papers on other law and development issues that can be considered broadly at the "micro level", including but not limited to: microfinance, microinsurance, green growth and development, etc.

Call for Papers: Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) conference to be held 20-22 October 2011

Submissions are due 30 May 2011 for the upcoming Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) conference to be held 20-22 October 2011. The theme is "Capitalism and the Common Good" The call can be found here.

Keynote Speaker:
- B.S. Chimni (Centre for International Legal Studies School of International Studies Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Confirmed speakers include:
- Antony Anghie (Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law at the University of Utah)
- Tayyab Mahmud (Professor of Law and Director, Center for Global Justice at Seattle University School of Law)
- Balakrishnan Rajagopal (Associate Professor of Law and Development and Director, MIT Program on Human Rights and Justice at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Publication Opportunities:
Select papers will be published in the Oregon Review of International Law. We are also investigating the possibility of a TWAIL book volume.

Call for Papers: 2011 Law and Development Institute Conference

Following last year's success, the Law and Development Institute (LDI, www.lawanddevelopment.net) is pleased to announce a call for paper proposals for the 2011 annual conference, entitled, "Law and Development at the Microlevel: From Microtrade to Current Issues in Law and Development". The conference will be co-hosted with Seattle University School of Law on December 10, 2011. The LDI calls for papers on any aspect of microtrade, which is a new system of international trade designed to alleviate populations of least-developed countries of extreme poverty (for a concept paper, see http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1524185), as well as for papers on other law and development issues that can be considered broadly at the "micro level", including but not limited to: microfinance, microinsurance, green growth and development etc.

Paper proposals should be limited to a 500 word abstract, which must be received by June 30 at the latest. Accepted conference papers should be completed by November 15 for circulation among the participants in advance of the conference. All proposals must be sent by email to the Law and Development Institute, info@lawanddevelopment.net (with a cc to wtogeneva@hotmail.com). The paper proposals will be peer-reviewed by members of the editorial board of the Law and Development Review (www.bepress.com/ldr). It is anticipated that paper selection will be completed by July 31, 2011. The selected authors will be invited to present their papers at the Conference. The conference venue is Seattle University School of Law, located in Seattle, United States. The invited speakers are expected to cover their own expenses to attend the conference.

Berkman webcast: Academic Uses of Social Media: Exploring 21st Century Communications Webcast Event

Tuesday, May 312:00-2:15pm
Webcast Event; the live webcast of this event will be available at the following URL: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/interactive/webcastat 12pm on 5/3
Co-sponsored by the Office of Faculty Development & Diversity at Harvard and the Harvard Office of News and Public Affairs

Social media — from blogs to wikis to tweets — have become academic media, new means by which scholars communicate, collaborate, and teach. Hear from a distinguished faculty panel, moderated by John Palfrey, about how they are adopting and adapting to new communication and networking tools, following a keynote by social media thought leader danah boyd.

New book on Law and Development Perspective on International Trade Law

Law and Development Perspective on International Trade Law (Cambridge University Press)

Edited by: Yong-Shik Lee, The Law and Development Institute, Sydney
Edited by: Gary Horlick, Georgetown University Law Center
Edited by: Won-Mog Choi, Ewha Womans University School of Law, Seoul
Edited by: Tomer Broude, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

BOOK ABSTRACT: Economic development is the most important agenda in the international trading system today, as demonstrated by the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) adopted in the current multilateral trade negotiations of the World Trade Organization (the Doha Round). This book provides a relevant discussion of major international trade law issues from the perspective of development in the following areas: general issues on international trade law and economic development; and specific law and development issues in World Trade Organization, Free Trade Agreement and regional initiatives. This book offers an unparalleled breadth of coverage on the topic and diversity of authorship, as seventeen leading scholars contribute chapters from nine major developed and developing countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan, China (including Hong Kong), South Korea, Australia, Singapore and Israel.

Contributors: Yong-Shik Lee, Tomer Broude, Bryan Mercurio, Maureen Irish, Faizel Ismail, Gary Horlick, Katherine Fennell, Andrew Mitchell, Joanne Wallis, Moche Hirsch, Mitsuo Matsushita, Anthony Cassimatis, Colin Picker, Caf Dowlah, Young-Ok Kim, Hye Seong Mun, Xiaojie Lu

Berkman Event: Building a More Diverse and Inclusive Legal Profession: A Call to Action Brad Smith, General Counsel of Microsoft

A new methodology for legal service delivery?

Thursday, April 15, 5:30 pm
Austin East Classroom, Austin Hall, Harvard Law School (Map)Free and Open to the Public
RSVP Required via the form below
Co-sponsored by the Harvard Law Program on the Legal Profession

The diversity of the legal profession continues to lag the diversity of the American population. Despite rising awareness of the issue over the last decade and even a number of well-intentioned efforts, progress has been slow. In this speech, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith will make the case for more rapid progress, outline the types of practical steps that are needed at law firms and companies, and speak to new initiatives across the legal profession to make the next decade more successful.

About Brad

Law and Development Review- another Special Issue

The 3rd of the 'Specials' of this series (see my posts on the previous first and second special issues here and here respectively), the 2011 Law and Development Review Special Issue is devoted to the Law and Development Institute Inaugural Conference entitled, “Future of Law and Development, International Trade and Economic Development”, which was held in Sydney, Australia, on the 16th of October, 2010. Articles:
Yong-Shik Lee

You can also access the all the (Special and Regular) issues here: 

Berkman Event- Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity and Self-Branding in Web 2.0

Tuesday, March 29, 12:30 pmBerkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
RSVP required for those attending in person to Amar Ashar (ashar@cyber.law.harvard.edu)
This event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET and archived on our site shortly after.

In the mid-2000s, journalists and businesspeople heralded “Web 2.0” technologies such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook as signs of a new participatory era that would democratize journalism, entertainment, and politics. By the decade’s end, this idealism had been replaced by a gold-rush mentality focusing on status and promotion. While the rhetoric of Web 2.0 as democratic and revolutionary persists, I will contend that a primary use of social media is to boost user status and popularity, maintaining hierarchy rather than diminishing it. This talk focuses on three status-seeking techniques that emerged with social media: micro-celebrity, self-branding, and life-streaming. I examine interactions between social media and social life in the San Francisco “tech scene” to show that Web 2.0 has become a key aspect of social hierarchy in technologically mediated communities.

Berkman Event: An Optimization-Based Framework for Automated Market-Making

I am thinking of ways that this might be used for the delivery of legal services:

CRCS Lunch Seminar
Date: Monday, March 21, 2011
Time: 11:30am – 1:-00pm
Place: Maxwell Dworkin 119

While computers have automated the operation of most financial markets, the underlying mechanism was designed for people to operate it. It is simple, not necessarily efficient, and has room for improvement. This work is an endeavor to design efficient automated market-making mechanisms that take into consideration of the logical relationships of securities.

We propose a general framework for the design of securities markets over combinatorial or infinite state spaces. The framework enables the design of computationally efficient markets tailored to an arbitrary, yet relatively small, space of securities with bounded payoff. We prove that any market satisfying a set of intuitive conditions must price securities via a convex cost function, which is constructed via conjugate duality. Rather than dealing with an exponentially large or infinite outcome space directly, our framework only requires optimization over a convex hull. By reducing the problem of automated market-making to convex optimization, where many efficient algorithms exist, we arrive at a range of new polynomial-time pricing mechanisms for various problems. We demonstrate the advantages of this framework with the design of some particular markets. We also show that by relaxing the convex hull we can gain computational tractability without compromising the market institution’s bounded budget.

This talk is based on joint work with Jacob Abernethy and Jennifer Wortman Vaughan.

Berkman Event: Whose choice? ICTs for “development” and the lives people value

ICT4D debates by Dorothea Kleine, Lecturer at the UNESCO Chair/Centre in ICT4D, Royal Holloway, University of London

Tuesday, February 15, 12:30 pm
Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
RSVP required for those attending in person to Amar Ashar (ashar@cyber.law.harvard.edu)
This event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET and archived on our site shortly after.

Recognising that ICTs are powerful tools shaping people’s everyday lives, practitioners, policy-makers and academics in the ICT for development (ICT4D) field engage with these technologies in the name of “development”. Yet understandings of development differ and too often remain implicit and removed from participatory processes involving the intended users. Techno-euphoria and the focus on universal access distracts from the very individual choices people should have to integrate technologies in their everyday practices (or not). Working with Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach and its view of development as freedom, this open conversation will discuss the diverse and potentially conflicting ideologies embedded in state ICT policies and technical artefacts and the intended and unintended consequences. It will explore potential technological and process innovations which could lead to more participatory decision-making on policy and technology design – an area where all countries can be classified as “developing”.

Berkman Webcast: The Internet, Young Adults and Political Participation around the 2008 Presidential Elections

Something that developing countries can learn from best practices, especially in light of Uganda's elections which is close to my hear now?

Tuesday, February 22, 12:30 pmBerkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
RSVP required for those attending in person to Amar Ashar (ashar@cyber.law.harvard.edu)
This event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET and archived on our site shortly after.

How are online and offline political activities linked? Using data collected soon after the 2008 presidential elections on a diverse group of young adults from Obama's home city of Chicago, this presentation will look at the relationship of online and offline political engagement. Thanks to detailed information about political participation, political capital and Internet uses in addition to people's demographic and socioeconomic background, we are able to consider the relative importance of numerous factors in who was more or less likely to vote and engage in other types of political action.

The Potential of Mobile Justice

A brief overview of why technology might help in justice, by Kate Krontiris (reproduced from the Huffington Post), where she identified the following three arguments for matching technology to justice.
  • First, there are technologies that can help a developing country leapfrog from no access to justice to some access to justice.
  • Second, these new technologies are not hard to use, are becoming ubiquitous in even the most remote corners of the globe, and are cheaper than ever to implement.
  • Finally, tech interventions focused toward one issue often have significant secondary benefits. 
Article follows

Call for Papers - University of Amsterdam 7th Annual Competition & Regulation Meeting: Competition Policy for Emerging Economies: When and How?

ACLE Conference - Call for Papers

The Amsterdam Center for Law &Economics at the University of Amsterdam organizes its 7th annual Competition & Regulation meeting on the topic: Competition Policy for Emerging Economies: When and How?

May 20, 2011
University of Amsterdam

The objective of this meeting is to bring together renowned specialists in emerging competition law enforcement and its interrelationship to economic development in conference to debate. We also welcome practitioners with a keen interest in this specialty subject, including (new) agency officials, government officials interested in competition policy as a development aid tool, competition lawyers and consultants and scholars working on these research topics.

Berkman Event 25 Jan 2011: Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human

Tuesday, January 25, 12:30 pm
Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
RSVP required for those attending in person to Amar Ashar (ashar@cyber.law.harvard.edu)
This event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET and archived on our site shortly after.

Ethan Zuckerman, Hal Roberts, and Jillian C. York will discuss the recently released Berkman Center report on "Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites.

About the DDoS Paper
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is an increasingly common Internet phenomenon capable of silencing Internet speech, usually for a brief interval but occasionally for longer. In this paper, we explore the specific phenomenon of DDoS attacks on independent media and human rights organizations, seeking to understand the nature and frequency of these attacks, their efficacy, and the responses available to sites under attack. Our report offers advice to independent media and human rights sites likely to be targeted by DDoS but comes to the uncomfortable conclusion that there is no easy solution to these attacks for many of these sites, particularly for attacks that exhaust network bandwidth.