Legal Services of Northern Virginia Launches Legal Aid Technology Initiative

Virginia Legal Information Can Now Be Accessed Anytime, Anywhere

FAIRFAX, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#AnywhereAnytime–Legal Services of Northern Virginia (LSNV) is proud to announce the
launch today of VA Law Help 2 Go, a program that will enable
those who use smartphones and other mobile devices to access brief
informational videos about common civil legal issues in Virginia. The
program was spearheaded by LSNV in partnership with the Virginia Legal
Aid Society and Blue Ridge Legal Services and funded by the Legal
Services Corporation (LSC) Technology Innovative Initiative Grant
program. This technology initiative advances LSC’s goal of enabling
users to access important legal information when and where it’s
convenient for them.

The purpose of the program is to empower people to access basic
information about legal issues that are impacting their lives so that
they can know what to do about those issues. The information is
delivered through videos in English or Spanish that are all under 3
minutes in length. Users of the service will text a keyword in their
chosen language to a designated telephone number (703-293-5544) and then
receive a link to view a specified video. The topics covered include
evictions (keyword = evictions/desalojos), landlord repairs (keyword =
repairs/reparaciones), security deposits (keyword = deposits/depositos),
divorce (keyword = divorce/divorcio), child custody (keyword =
custody/custodia), child support (keyword = support/manutencion), debt
collection (keyword = debt/deuda), and garnishment (keyword =
garnishment/embargo). Users will also receive via text message a link to
further resources about their topic and information about how to contact
their local legal aid office. All of the informational videos can also
be accessed directly at www.valawhelp2go.org.

“In Northern Virginia – a region known for its wealth – there is a
pressing need for accessible legal help for poor people,” noted LSNV
Executive Director Jim Ferguson. “Last year, LSNV handled 6,371 cases!
Because of our limited resources, we were only able to address less than
half of the need that is out there. It is vital that we as a community
be creative and figure out ways to be able to provide at least some
legal help to more people in need. The videos that make up VA Law
Help 2 Go
are an important step in the right direction,” said
Ferguson.

VA Law Help 2 Go is the product of a year-long collaboration
between LSNV and its project partners. It is hoped that hundreds of
low-income Virginians will access the videos in the coming year.

About LSNV

Legal Services of Northern Virginia is a full service, regional
nonprofit law firm that provides free representation in civil legal
matters to low-income, elderly, and disabled clients throughout Northern
Virginia. It was established in 1980. LSNV’s mission is to promote
justice for a better community by providing civil legal assistance to
those facing the loss of a critical need.

Contacts

Legal Services of Northern Virginia
Raquel Bonilla
Director of
Grants Management
703-778-6803
rbonilla@lsnv.org