Law Soup LA

submission by tristan.blaine.1

About Your Organization

Organization name(s):

Law Soup, Inc.

Organization website:

www.lawsoup.org

Organization Twitter handle:

www.twitter.com/lawsoupdotorg

Organization Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/lawsoup

Describe your organization (check only one):

Nonprofit organization

For-profit organization

Government

Individual

Please describe yourself (check only one):

Solo actor (just us on this project!)

Proposed collaboration (we want to work with partners!)

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

:

Law Soup LA is a web-based resource that provides L.A. County residents with a fun way to understand the law and participate in democracy.

IN ONE SENTENCE, PLEASE DESCRIBE WHAT YOUR ORGANIZATION DOES.

:

Law Soup is an online media company that creates and publishes content designed to advance the public’s understanding of the law.

Does your project impact Los Angeles County? Check only one.

Yes (benefits all of LA County)

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Yes (benefits a population of LA County)

No

Please write a sample tweet to describe your submission.

:

@LawSoupLA will serve up some law to empower you to take charge of your life and connect with your community #LA2050

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit? Check all that apply.

Central LA

East LA

South LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South Bay

Westside

Other:

If other, please specify.:

L.A. County

WHAT IS YOUR IDEA/PROJECT IN MORE DETAIL?

:

Law Soup LA is a web-based resource that provides news and information for L.A. County residents and visitors about their legal rights and responsibilities, and empowers the public to participate in the democratic process. Primarily, it involves a website which contains L.A. County focused news stories and blog posts related to law and government; a database of key laws that affect L.A. area residents most, and useful information about such laws; as well as interactive features. One such feature allows users of the site to draft and post a law they believe should be enacted, and others in the community can “like” the proposed law and comment on it. Proposed laws are ranked by "likes" and those with the most likes are prominently displayed!

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

:

We have already taken preliminary steps to implement the project, including creating a sample of the basic structure of the website and much of the content, and developing a detailed plan to complete the initial implementation. To fully implement the project, we will hire a web designer, a communications/community outreach director, and content editors. We will then finish the initial design and content of the website, and begin outreach, using social media and print media, as well as local events to create buzz about the project. We will continue to add content to the website indefinitely.

Towards the goal of promoting access to justice for all, most of the content will be free and will be easily accessible to anyone who can access an internet connection. The content will be written in an accessible and engaging format, in plain language.

To sustain the project beyond September 2015, advertisements will be displayed, and revenue will be collected from companies or organizations that advertise on the site. We may also later establish a subscription-based portion of the site geared towards professionals, which would provide more extensive information for a small fee.

HOW WILL YOUR IDEA/PROJECT HELP MAKE LA THE BEST PLACE TO CONNECT TODAY? IN 2050?

:

Law Soup LA will help people quickly understand what the law entitles them to and what the law expects of them, as well as how they can take action to exercise their rights and advocate for an expansion of rights. By providing this information in an easily accessible, fun and engaging way, and empowering people to take part in proposing and advancing their own ideas about laws for their community, the project is likely to have great success in making LA the best place to connect, today and in the future.

People want to participate, but often feel it is difficult to do so when they don’t know the basics, especially when it comes to local government which can be opaque and complex, and receives less coverage by the media. Law Soup LA can quickly get people up to speed, and build community discussions based around facts rather than rhetoric, so that discussions are as civil and productive as possible. While online interaction can be very productive and make people feel connected to the community, we know face to face interaction is even better. Law Soup LA will encourage users to take the conversation offline and to show up at community events and neighborhood council meetings to discuss important issues.

Also, the website will enable people to be creative and take ownership of their society by proposing their own laws. The feedback they will get from the community will certainly be a great learning experience, and the potential support from the community of one’s proposed laws can truly be an exciting and affirming experience. In addition, the interactive facebook page and twitter account, and other social media will all work towards the goal of engaging with people to help them understand their rights and responsibilities, and to feel connected to their community and their government.

All of this will help make LA the best place to connect today, and will allow this connectivity to expand over the years, as people become more comfortable and confident with their understanding of the laws and legal and political system. Law Soup LA intends to create the conditions that spawn a new way of thinking that is passed down to future generations, so that by 2050 most people in LA County will have the knowledge and confidence to assert their rights and participate in their communities more fully.

In addition, the project is designed to be dynamic and self-sustaining to endure through 2050 and beyond.

WHOM WILL YOUR PROJECT BENEFIT? PLEASE BE SPECIFIC.

:

Law Soup LA is designed to benefit all people within L.A. County, and does so by making its information about the law and government free and accessible to all those who can access an internet connection. However, because lower-income and lesser-educated people often have minimal access to justice and have less information about their rights, Law Soup LA stands to benefit these groups the most.

The project is also designed to benefit society as a whole, so that as people begin to feel more empowered and connected to their community and government, they will be inspired to work to make it a better place. We will continually evaluate the project to ensure that it is indeed benefiting all possible people, and if we find it is not, will make the changes necessary to achieve this goal.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

:

We are open to working with any and all partners who share our values of promoting access to justice and providing accurate, useful legal information to the public.

How will your project impact the LA2050 "CONNECT" metrics?

Rates of volunteerism

Voting rates by race

Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support

Median travel time to work

Attendance at cultural events

Number of public transit riders

Participation in neighborhood councils

Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally (Dream Metric)

Government responsiveness to residents’ needs (Dream Metric)

Transit-accessible housing and employment (the share of housing units and percentage of jobs that are located within a half-mile of transit) (Dream Metric)

Total number of social media friends (Dream Metric)

Attendance at public/open street gatherings (Dream Metric)

Residential segregation (Dream Metric)

Access to free wifi (Dream Metric)

Other:

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.:

Because Law Soup LA will facilitate online and offline engagement in the community as well as democratic participation, the project will likely have the most direct impact on the above indicated metrics, though it may also have an indirect impact on those metrics not checked.

First, as Angelenos begin accessing the website and learn about their rights and the legal and political system as a whole, those who have felt apathetic about voting due to a lack of knowledge will be more motivated to vote. Because minority groups generally have less access to such knowledge, these groups will be most significantly impacted by Law Soup LA, and thus voting rates by race will become less disparate.

The increased knowledge of the process and of the neighborhood council system in particular, as well as increased engagement in the democratic process through enabling community members to post proposed laws on the website will clearly increase participation in neighborhood councils.

The combination of increased voting and increased participation in neighborhood councils will very likely make government officials more responsive to residents’ needs. Indeed, robust participation in the proposed law section of the website in itself may put government officials on notice of the needs of users as identified on the website.

As Law Soup LA helps people become more knowledgeable, participate more in neighborhood councils, and become more aware of their ability to influence the creation of laws, this will naturally lead to more Angelenos becoming interested in volunteering on political and advocacy campaigns. The exposure to volunteering on campaigns will likely have a spillover effect to other types of volunteerism in the L.A. area, such as environmental cleanup projects and soup kitchens.

Law Soup LA will almost certainly have an impact on the amount of local social media friends Angelenos have as they meet and interact with members of the community on the site and through Law Soup LA’s facebook and twitter accounts. Because these interactions will be built around a positive and affirming environment that Law Soup LA will work to create, the online and offline friendships and connections created through the site will likely be beneficial and productive. This, in turn, will impact the metrics of adults getting sufficient emotional and social support, attendance at cultural events, and attendance at public/open street gatherings.

PLEASE SELECT WHICH OTHER LA2050 GOALS ARE RELEVANT TO YOUR PROJECT OR ORGANIZATION (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY):

LA is the best place to LEARN

LA is the best place to CREATE

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

LA is the best place to PLAY

PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW YOU WILL EVALUATE YOUR PROJECT.

:

We will consider the project successful if after one year the website attracts a significant amount of unique visitors, and the facebook and twitter accounts gain a significant number of followers. Specifically, we will consider the website a success if at least 12,000 L.A. County residents use the site at least once during the first year, or if we have at least 1,000 monthly active users (MAUs). We also hope to attract at least 1,000 facebook and 1,000 twitter followers in the first year.

WHAT TWO LESSONS HAVE INFORMED YOUR SOLUTION OR PROJECT?

:

The first lesson that has informed the creation of Law Soup LA is that more people than ever are being excluded from access to justice. As a licensed California attorney, I have seen the increased need for legal services, and the unfortunate inability of the legal system to meet those needs. Due to increased caseloads at pro bono law firms which exceed capacity and funds, the legal system is not adequately meeting the needs of the most vulnerable, as well as much of the middle class who increasingly cannot afford legal services. While Law Soup LA is not intended to replace legal services, it will go a long way towards reducing the need for these services. Much of the legal problems that people encounter are preventable with simple and accessible legal information.

The second lesson is that we know people want to be more involved in the community, and to participate more in the decision-making process for their community. However, the political system is too opaque and complex for most people to feel comfortable becoming involved in this way. To make the strongest impact in voicing one’s opinion on a proposed law or government action, one needs to have the proper background information, including what the current law is, the reason for the law, the authority of the government entity in taking the proposed action, and how an individual can influence the entity, whether by voting in an upcoming election or potentially suing the entity in court. Law Soup LA aims to provide all of this information, and in a fun and easily accessible way.

Explain how implementing your project in the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

:

We have already taken preliminary steps to implement the project, including creating a sample of the basic structure of the website and much of the content, and developing a detailed plan to complete the initial implementation. To fully implement the project, we will hire a web designer, a communications/community outreach director, and content editors. We will then finish the initial design and content of the website, and begin outreach, using social media and print media, as well as local events to create buzz about the project. We will continue to add content to the website indefinitely.

Given what we have already implemented in just two months, it is reasonable to expect that the initial launch and outreach can be achieved within 6 months. Though of course we will continue to add content to the website and continue our outreach efforts indefinitely.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

:

One major challenge in implementing Law Soup LA is ensuring the accuracy of the information provided. Accuracy can be ensured by checking the information against multiple sources, including possibly consulting with outside lawyers and other experts. We will provide citations to as much content as possible so that people can verify for themselves that the information we provide is reliable.

That said, although we will do everything possible to ensure accuracy and reliability, we do not plan to make guarantees about reliability of the information. Law Soup LA will not be a law firm nor provide legal advice, and will not be held liable for incorrect information. The project is more of a starting point for legal inquiries, and the website will encourage users to seek an attorney when appropriate.

A second major challenge is to ensure that people who use the website can easily navigate it and understand the information presented. We will meet this challenge by performing regular “user testing” to get feedback about the site from users, and will modify the format and content according to the results. We believe in being flexible and adaptable, and if the website is not connecting with users, we will experiment with new ideas to find the best way of accomplishing this goal.

WHAT RESOURCES DOES YOUR PROJECT NEED? (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)

Education/training

Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Discussion
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Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
$100,000
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Submission Ended
Thursday, July 31, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Voting Ended
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 3 83da7a9432aeea960e1a9e9ee93e7ea1221af6c8f42b27964f2e9999d94b2b8d Step3 title 3d9e2a65d6ea1ad301f8fc607f5f828bd96362932c71d81c0da5b1fd964422b0
Special Olympics World Games 2015
Special Olympics World Games 2015

Winner Announced
Tuesday, September 30, 2014