Kirsten Jacobson

  • Hosted by Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services
  • Sponsored by International Paper
  • Service location Nashville, Tennessee
  • Law school University of Tennessee College of Law
  • Issue area Pro se and other legal representation systems
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Kirsten expanded access to justice in Tennessee through technology, making some form of civil legal help available to the 1.2 million Tennesseans living in poverty.

At the start of the project, the State of Tennessee had the 12th highest poverty rate in the country and ranked 46th on the Justice Index for its ratio of civil legal aid attorneys to low-income individuals eligible for free legal aid. However, growing internet access among low-income communities throughout Tennessee provided an important opportunity to use new technologies to tackle the state’s interconnected problems of poverty and barriers to civil legal aid. Through this project, Kirsten developed technology programs to support and supplement civil legal aid organizations across the state. These tools made some form of civil legal help available to all Tennesseans.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Kirsten has:

  • Designed and implemented the Legal Wellness Checkup, an automated tool to identify legal risks and legal issues, available to all Tennesseans on
  • Improved 1-844-HELP4TN legal helpline efficiency by managing the implementation of a case management system, text message capabilities, and additional API development
  • Provided legal advice and referrals through the Legal Wellness Checkup, HELP4TN, and TN Free Legal Answers
  • Conducted nearly 30 presentations and trainings
  • Shared about my experience with Public Service Loan Forgiveness with my legislator and published an Op-Ed supporting PSLF

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Kirsten plans to:

  • Continue working at the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services as a Staff Attorney, providing legal advice and referrals through HELP4TN, TN Free Legal Answers, and the Legal Wellness Checkup
  • Create new technology programs and statewide legal service delivery models to increase access to civil legal help in Tennessee
  • Manage TN Free Legal Answers as site administrator

Meet Other Fellows Like Kirsten

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Ty Pinkins

Host: Mississippi Center for Justice

Sponsor: Anonymous

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Sandra Munoz

Host: inMotion, Inc.

Sponsor: Shearman & Sterling LLP, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Rocky Cabagnot

Host: Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc.

Sponsor: The Florida Bar Foundation

Equal Justice Works Logomark

Adrianna Alty

Host: Pro Bono Net, Inc.

Sponsor: Latham & Watkins LLP