Building the Resistance: Innovation Law Lab Impact Report

We are thrilled to share our latest report with you. “Building the Resistance: Innovation Law Lab Impact Report” is now available online.

The mass incarceration and deportation of immigrant communities of color has long been underway in the United States. With the election of President Donald Trump, what few safeguards existed for immigrants and refugees are now under attack. The need for scalable immigrant representation models and sites of resistance is greater than ever before.

Our impact report captures the collaborative work we have done over the past 18 months. Some of the highlights include:

  • Established four Centers of Excellence across the country, which provide pro bono representation for families formerly held in family detention centers
  • Launched BorderX, our model to scale representation of adult immigrants in detention
  • Trained 296 attorneys
  • Placed over 70 pro bono asylum cases affecting over 150 people
  • Been recognized by Financial Times as one of the most innovative legal organizations in North America

Read the report

Asylum seeker wins release from Texas detention center; collaborative advocacy instrumental

Otero County Detention Center is located in Chaparral, New Mexico, approximately 30 miles north of El Paso, Texas.

Santiago*—an asylum seeker who was wrongfully detained by ICE—was released on bond through powerful legal advocacy made possible through BorderX, an initiative of the Innovation Law Lab, and the expert representation of Linda Rivas, executive director and managing attorney at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, Texas.

Santiago crossed the border and requested asylum in September 2017, at which point ICE sent him to an adult immigrant detention center. “ICE detention is a terrifying black hole for the majority of immigrants forced to endure it,” said Ian Philabaum, program director at the Innovation Law Lab. “Limited access to counsel, horrific conditions, and a lack of communication with support networks are all used as tools to coerce people eligible for relief to self-deport.”

Thanks to intentional and coordinated advocacy efforts on the part of many organizations and individuals, including Santiago himself, Santiago’s case was not lost in the black hole of immigrant detention. Advocates that work along the U.S.-Mexico border alerted the Innovation Law Lab of Santiago’s case early on, and the Innovation Law Lab coordinated with Las Americas to win his release on bond.

Even so, Santiago spent over six months in unlawful detention before a judge was compelled to authorize his release in accordance with the law. “Under the law, an asylum-seeker should not be imprisoned unless they are a danger or a flight-risk,” said Stephen Manning, executive director of the Innovation Law Lab, “But following the law would mean less profit for the private prison industry.”

The Trump Administration continues to expand for-profit detention and continues to unlawfully detain asylum seekers like Santiago. At any given time there are upwards of 30,000 adults in immigrant detention centers, with over 70% held in facilities operated by for-profit prison companies, two of the largest being the GEO Group and CoreCivic (formerly CCA).

“There are simply not enough attorneys to represent everyone in immigrant detention; the nonprofit sector in the area is especially limited” said Rivas. “BorderX has enabled Las Americas to take on more cases like Santiago’s completely free of charge.”

Santiago has now been reunited with loved ones, and will be able to continue to pursue his asylum claim outside of detention.

*Client’s name has been changed to protect privacy.

BorderX is a collaborative representation model designed to win release from detention for adults in immigrant detention centers. To learn more, click here.

Copy/Merge Feature for Parties in LawLab 5.1!

Earlier this year, we introduced Interview and a whole new way to collect and analyze core, substantive information about your clients in order to make the best decisions. Today, we introduce a new Copy/Merge feature for parties in LawLab 5.1.

With Copy, information can be copied from one party to another. With Merge, two parties are merged into a single party.

To start Copy or Merge, click on the Copy/Merge icon  in the Record Caption. (The icon appears only when there are two or more parties associated with the record).

Keep in mind that there is no undo for Copy/Merge. Copy permanently overwrites data. Merge permanently deletes source party information.

Merging Parties

  • From the Record View, click on the   icon on the top right corner:

  • In the Party Merge screen, select the “Source” Party and the “Destination” Party. Identify the party and information you want to preserve. In most cases, duplicates will have no information attached at all. Available fields to merge will be visible once the Source and Destination parties have been selected. Fields marked green mean that information in that field will be preserved and will replace the information contained in the corresponding red field.  Fields containing identical information for both Parties will be hidden to simplify the display.
  • In some cases there may be Interview sections that allow multiple entries.  In this case, those fields on the Destination Party will not be highlighted in red, but will be preserved.  These fields will be indicated by a plus-arrow (⥅). You will need to remove these fields manually from the Destination Party if you do not wish to preserve them.
  • All Attachments will be copied to the Destination Party by default.

If you don’t want to replace the information, don’t check off any field.

  • The option to Delete the “Source” party is located at the bottom left. This option will allow you to delete the duplicate:

If you click on it, a warning message will pop up:

A last message will pop up after acknowledging the warning and clicking on the Merge Parties button:

Clicking OK will permanently delete the “Source” party, thus eliminating the duplicate.

Copying information from one party to another

If you only want to COPY information from one party to another, select your Source and Destination parties, and check off the fields you want to copy from one party to the other, and then click on the Merge Parties option.

You will see the same warning as before:

Click OK. Your parties will still be in your record, but the information in the Destination party will now be updated according to the fields selected.

Administrators control who can Copy or Merge. To turn on Copy/Merge, the administrator must set a User’s rights to Admin, Copy Party, or Merge Party.

Rethinking Parties in 5.1 – What’s New?

In LL 5.1, Parties got a lot of love. In fact, they got a whole new interface and data engine called Interview. Now, unlike before, Parties can easily link multiple cases within a record.

Before, parties were static entries–associated only with a single case within a single record. Each time a user created a new case, all the party information needed to be re-entered. This was inefficient and ineffective.

It also prevented robust data collection because it was not dynamic and the data would not travel with the party as his or her case developed over time. LL 5.0 was built on the fly to accommodate an urgent need for the pro bono defense teams for the Artesia Pro Bono Project.

In LL 5.1, all Parties are managed through Interview. In Interview strategic information about the client (history, claim, story, family; all information that will help to build their case) is recorded.  The Interview engine is gleaming machine that is built to do even more. Under-the-hood, it’s engine is designed to support our next generation legal analysis modules to help you spot troublesome admissibility, eligibility, and long term relief.

Interview requires that each Party have a first name, last name, date of birth, and gender. This allows for the engine to identify and link parties to the appropriate case.

Transition tip: For parties entered in 5.0, you will be required to add the required information the first time you seek to update that record.

You create a new record by starting a new interview.

There are 5 required fields to create a new record:  the primary party’s first and last name, the date the record is opened, the assigned attorney, and the case type.  After this information is entered the “create” button activates.  Click Create. Creating a new record will also automatically create a new case.  (The primary party will be linked to the record and the case.)

Pro tip: Leave the Record ID blank. LawLab will auto-assign a unique Record ID number that you can use for LawLab, the physical file, and all of your data systems. The number begins with the year and followed with a 4 digit sequential number, e.g., 20170045 (means the 45th record created in 2017).  Once a Record ID is assigned, it cannot be changed. It is a permanent, unique identifier.

That’s it. You can now immediately switch to Docket to begin adding additional case information, upload documents, enter case notes, set reminders or use Interview to update party information and add additional parties.

Pro tip: We like to quickly add the key Personal Details at this point: the date of birth, country of birth, relationship, language and the A# if available. LawLab won’t require you to do before switching to the Docket (and adding case information), but it is a best practice and helps speed up searches later.

Contact Migration in 5.1.0

A big improvement with 5.1.0 is the ability to create a party and share that party information across all cases in a record. This feature allows the user to collect deeper, more substantive data. When there is a data mismatch between how a party was originally entered in LL 5.0 and now, LL 5.1 makes an assumption as to which party is the correct party to display in the Record Caption — we call this person the Contact Party (that is, who is the person you are most likely to contact for a case).

During the migration, if LL 5.1.0 was unable to find an existing party that matched the first and last names of the Contact Party, so the system created one to ensure that the contact information remained unchanged after the upgrade.  Mismatches happen due to a misspelling in the record contact information vs the party’s, omitted maternal name, maternal name in First Name field vs Last Name field, etc. If LL 5.1 created a Contact Party for the record, the docket will say:

Contact migration: Created new Party ‘NEW-PARTY-NAME’ from existing record details and it has been assigned as a Contact Party. Note that this Party will not have any Case Notes or history associated with it, and may simply be the result of a misspelling of the original Party’s name. Please confirm that the contact information for this Record is correct, you may select an alternate Contact Party by editing this Record. If you have any questions, please contact helpdesk@innovationlawlab.org

When this appears in your docket, you should confirm that LL 5.1 choice of Contact Party is the right one. If so, nothing more needs to be done. If not, then you can change the Contact Party by selecting Edit on the Record Caption.

Then select the appropriate Contact Party from the drop down list.

LawLab 5.1.0 Rollout Begins Jan. 29, 2018

We are happy to announce the 5.1.0 release of LawLab.  This release features a number of major improvements including Interview and Active Case Management. Interview is a single-page application that lets interviewers collect and organize the maximum amount of client information in a flexible format, allowing them to conduct interviews in a way that is most comfortable for the client and the interviewer. Active Case Management is a productivity tool that automates workflows and triggers case events, ensuring that process is well-defined and utilized throughout the practice.

A feature that has been often requested has now arrived: Access Control!  This allows an Administrator to create Limited users who may only access specific Records, and may have different, fine-grained permissions applied to various Records.

Another important part of the 5.1.0 release is an overall security hardening of the LawLab application.   Password encryption, while adequate, has been significantly strengthened. Administrators now have the ability to require that a user change their password on next login, allowing initial passwords to be shared then immediately replaced by the user.  Users will also be greeted with a new login notice stating the last time and location of their session, and a warning if it appears to be significantly different from the prior session.

A number of other smaller, “behind the scenes” improvements and changes have been made to facilitate even bigger features coming soon!

Learn about LawLab 5.1.0

  • These easy-to-use online manuals will help you learn how to get the most out of your LawLab platform.
  • We cover the basics about LawLab in Getting Started: What is LawLab?
  • For the new user (or even the old-hand), this guide LawLab for New Users describes how to create a record, complete a case registration, create docket entries, add documents and other attachments, understand the dashboard, and take advantage of the power of LawLab’s Interview component. You can learn about creating calendar syncs and using Markdown syntax to format entries.
  • Administrators should review this guide to understand how to create workflows, manage users and more.

Important Changes

  • As a result of improved password security, Calendar ICS and RSS feed URLs will need to be recreated once after the user’s first login post-upgrade.  Existing URLs will no longer function
  • Administrator accounts with either default email addresses or passwords will be forced to update their email and/or password information on the next login.
  • Additional security features designed to prevent “session hijacking” attacks may be problematic for mobile users.  To disable security features which may impact mobile users, click the “Remember Me” checkbox when logging in.

Major Features / Improvements

  • Interview Application
  • Active Case Management Workflows and Triggers
  • Auto fill new Docket entries with attachments and comments
  • Unified Parties
  • Access Control
  • Security Hardening
  • Multi-User Dashboard

Minor Improvements  / Changes

  • Added ability to print Task report directly from Dashboard
  • Improved UI button consistency
  • Security Role functionality is consistent across the site
  • Gender added to party
  • Various Task report improvements, including export to CSV
  • Password reset page styling improvements
  • Include Gender in Parties report
  • Dashboard options now persist for entire login session instead of being reset each page view
  • XSLX export support has been removed
  • Docket styling improvements to indicate future/past entries
  • Case Actions may now be limited to specific Case Types
  • Remove Flash requirement for address clipboard copy support
  • Allow sorting by Attorney column in Records and Consultations view
  • Allow searching by Attorney in Consultations

Bug Fixes

  • Calendar event/task comment details now scroll with page
  • Dashboard options now persist for entire login session instead of being reset each page view
  • Prevent identically named items from being created in some dropdowns (Case Types, Case Actions, etc)
  • Fix case when Events without comments wouldn’t match when Advanced Search was ran with no query and a Case Action specified
  • Fix for error when certain Consultations are returned in Management Report
  • Non-default sort parameters are now preserved when paginating through results

Innovation Law Lab finalist for the Financial Times “Innovative Lawyers Awards” North America 2017

The pioneering immigration law work of the Innovation Law Lab has been recognized by The Financial Times, which has shortlisted us for its Innovative Lawyers Awards North America 2017.

Our founder and legal director, Stephen W. Manning, is one of ten finalists in the “Legal Innovator of the Year” category, which recognizes individuals who have come up with original ideas, have shown the courage to change the way legal work is done, and have had a powerful influence in their industry or wider society.

Manning’s work has been recognized in several Oregon-based publications during the last year, including Oregon Super Lawyers and Oregon Business.

“This recognition brings needed attention to the power of passion, process, and collaboration to defend the most vulnerable in our world against powerful interests that would undermine the law,” Manning stated in response to the news.

“I am hopeful this recognition will help us further scale our work,” added Interim Executive Director Sophia Tzeng.

Now in its eighth year of publication and covering the US, Canada, and Mexico, the FT North America Innovative Lawyers Report has become one of the top legal rankings in the region. Award winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on December 11, 2017 to be held at the New York Public Library.

Please direct all inquiries to Victoria Bejarano Muirhead, Development Director, at victoria@innovationlawlab.org or 971-801-6047.

5 Features of LawLab You Need To Know About

You want to manage your immigration law practice better—win every case every time. And with LawLab, you can: register for a free, live webinar.

Used by the largest immigrant defense consortiums in the country in some of the harshest jurisdictions, LawLab’s legal practice management software simplifies your daily tasks. Find what you need when you need it and get things done fast.

See how LL 5.1.0 can make your day easier, from managing cases to interviewing clients, to setting strategy in this 60-minute webinar, hosted by Stephen Manning, the Legal Director of the Law Lab and Elizabeth Skokan, Helpdesk Support.

You’ll learn how LL 5.1.0 helps you:

  • Organize cases and client information
  • Securely manage all case and client information from any computer
  • Create workflow automations
  • Set and assign tasks
  • Create reports

Set your clients up to win.

LawLab 5.1.0 Is Live!

We are happy to announce the 5.1.0 release of LawLab.  This release features a number of major improvements including Interview and Active Case Management. Interview is a single-page application that lets interviewers collect and organize the maximum amount of client information in a flexible format, allowing them to conduct interviews in a way that is most comfortable for the client and the interviewer. Active Case Management is a productivity tool that automates workflows and triggers case events, ensuring that process is well-defined and utilized throughout the practice.

A feature that has been often requested has now arrived: Access Control!  This allows an Administrator to create Limited users who may only access specific Records, and may have different, fine-grained permissions applied to various Records.

Another important part of the 5.1.0 release is an overall security hardening of the LawLab application.   Password encryption, while adequate, has been significantly strengthened. Administrators now have the ability to require that a user change their password on next login, allowing initial passwords to be shared then immediately replaced by the user.  Users will also be greeted with a new login notice stating the last time and location of their session, and a warning if it appears to be significantly different from the prior session.

A number of other smaller, “behind the scenes” improvements and changes have been made to facilitate even bigger features coming soon!

Breaking Changes

  • As a result of improved password security, Calendar ICS and RSS feed URLs will need to be recreated once after the user’s first login post-upgrade.  Existing URLs will no longer function
  • Administrator accounts with either default email addresses or passwords will be forced to update their email and/or password information on the next login.

Major Features / Improvements

  • Interview Application
  • Active Case Management Workflows
  • Auto fill new Docket entries with attachments and comments
  • Unified Parties
  • Access Control
  • Security Hardening
  • Multi-User Dashboard

Bug Fixes / Minor Improvements

  • Added ability to print Task report directly from Dashboard
  • Improved UI button consistency
  • Security Role functionality is consistent across the site
  • Gender added to party
  • Task report improvements
  • Password reset page styling improvements
  • Calendar library upgrade
  • Calendar event/task comment details now scroll with page
  • Include Gender in Parties report
  • Dashboard options now persist for entire login session instead of being reset each page view
  • XSLX export support has been removed
  • Docket styling improvements to indicate future/past entries
  • Case Actions may now be limited to specific Case Types
  • Remove Flash requirement for address clipboard copy support
  • Added Religions
  • Prevent identically named items from being created in some dropdowns (Case Types, Case Actions, etc)
  • Fix case when Events without comments wouldn’t match when Advanced Search was ran with no query and a Case Action specified
  • Allow sorting by Attorney column in Records and Consultations view
  • Allow searching by Attorney in Consultations
  • Fix for error when certain Consultations are returned in Management Report

LL 5.1.0 will be available in beta until January 29, 2018. You can create a subscription and take advantage of beta pricing here.

How LawLab Software Supports the Work of Nonprofit Firms

WritingEvery day, nonprofit legal service providers represent individuals threatened by deportation, striving to secure justice-centered immigrant and refugee legal norms. Among the many challenges of practicing immigration law, most legal nonprofits lack the resources to formally represent every client they advise and depend on cost-saving tactics and applications that increase organizational efficiency. How can nonprofit organizations extend their legal power to more effectively address complex immigration cases?

Welcome, LawLab by Innovation Law Lab. Designed with nonprofit legal service providers in mind, LawLaw is a case management software that addresses the essential needs of nonprofit organizations, empowering attorneys to continue advocating for the rights of immigrants and refugees.

For those in search of powerful legal nonprofit case management tools, here is what LawLab can offer your practice:

  • Tools to organize and streamline case processes. Equipped with a collection of features designed to support positive case outcomes, LawLab standardizes your work procedures. Users are presented with a daily report of new and unfinished tasks from upcoming deadlines, scheduled events, unreturned contacts and other next actions. These tasks can be passed to other associates for completion, organized in an easy-to-view checklist. These cost-saving measures preserve your energy and give greater structure to your casework.
  • Data collection for better grant reporting. LawLab is a powerful tool for data collection and reporting, supporting grant reporting requirements. Rather than spend time chasing down records and piecing together pieces of data, LawLab sorts essential information for you. As it records billable projects and activities, measures the effectiveness of organization program and it staff and volunteers, LawLab aggregates data that speaks on the efficacy of your legal nonprofit.
  • Flexible features allow you to make instant modifications. As your organization grows and adapts, LawLab will grow and adapt to fit your needs. Whether you’ve added numbers to your team or need to pivot your research and data points, LawLab’s flexible system allows you to make instant changes to evolve your program. With LawLab, your organization can on-board volunteers and provide access to case information without affecting the integrity of your data. Whether your work happens in an office space, or from multiple destinations around the world, your files are accessible from different sites. LawLab offers your organization the flexible tools your casework requires.
  • Best-in-class software for a nonprofit budget. For legal nonprofits, the ability to provide pro bono legal advice depends on a variety of external and internal resources. Thankfully, LawLab is priced at a nonprofit-sized budget. For recognized and accredited nonprofit organizations, Innovation Law Lab offers a month to month subscription to LawLab, accessible to your entire organization, no matter how large your team becomes. That’s unlimited users, unlimited users and unlimited clients and access support and training features for one price.

Ready to start your free trial? Create your own account to learn more about Innovation Law Lab’s LawLab software and its available subscription plans. Discover the power of data-driven, client-centered case management software and how you can revolutionize your legal nonprofit organization with LawLab.