Finalist category: BT Connected Society Award
Connected Society Award, Finalist, 2017
Using technology to provide access to justice
Atticus Link is an innovative web app that improves access to legal advice and fosters the communication between various non-for-profit advice provider to streamline an uneven system.
Joseph Huang, Justin Johnson, Nicoleta Uzorka Ion and Fatiha Zine (together with the “Founders”), designed Atticus Link with one clear aim in mind: to enable the efficient delivery of pro bono legal advice and improve the experience of advice seekers, advisors and the legal centers that support them. Atticus Link automates the routine fact-finding exercise common during legal center appointments and provides a secure environment to review, evaluate and advise on legal issues remotely.
The Founders are addressing a systemic and growing problem in the UK: the decline in access to legal advice and the rise of advice deserts. Accordingly, their platform promotes and facilitates collaboration between not-for-profit advice providers and corporate and commercial law firms. In addition, it gives advice providers the ability to quickly and efficiently identify and respond to urgent or legal aidable cases, saving time and reducing wasted appointments.
Fatiha explained how Atticus-Link could help vulnerable or isolated people.
“Today, people who might be in a difficult legal situation will have access to justice without leaving their house. They will be able to use either their computer or their phone to log onto the Atticus-Link app.They will not have to wait in a queue with no guarantee to be heard. This, to me, is priceless, an amazing innovation that will make people’s lives easier and save their time”
The App is also designed to make life easier for lawyers, who want to offer their services for free to low-income but are disheartened by the additional traveling time to and from advice clinics and the lack of information about the cases.
Fatiha says that when she was working as an in-house lawyer, there was no system in place to allow lawyers to volunteer their time to help the most vulnerable. Atticus Link innovates as it allows any multinational corporate, whose in-house lawyers are keen to volunteer their time to help the most vulnerable, to step forward. Taking part in pro-bono services, doing good and gaining experience should be easy, which is why we have designed Atticus-Link to enable volunteers, trainee lawyers, and advisors to evaluate legal problems from their own place of work or study, at a convenient time. This reduces the most common disincentives: wasted appointments and the additional traveling time to and from advice clinics.
Earlier this year, the team secured funding allowing them to develop and test the platform. They believe that winning the BT Connecting Community Award will help them further develop relationships with key advice organizations.