The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Minneapolis 2017, April 22-23

Legal Assistance of Dakota County, Ltd.

Paired with Infinite Jesters

Legal Assistance of Dakota County, Ltd. (LADC) provides free legal services to low-income residents of Dakota and Goodhue Counties, primarily in the area of family law. We focus on family law because families are the building blocks of our community and family law is the area of greatest client demand. Our services help stabilize low-income families, long-term, by resolving custody disputes, providing protection from abuse, equitably distributing property, and establishing child support orders that provide economic stability and often reduce or prevent reliance on public benefits. LADC is the only legal aid organization with a physical presence in Dakota County and we are an integral part of the local legal and social services community. Because there is not a right to an attorney in civil cases, our services are often the only option for low-income people to get legal advice or representation for their critical legal needs.

What new functionality we are looking for

Legal Assistance of Dakota County, Ltd. (LADC) would like a new website that is more accessible to the public and is easier for our staff to update and edit.

Our current website was created approximately five years ago and is difficult to update or modify. We have been unable to even add the new logo we got 2 years ago, and it is difficult to add the dates and locations of our legal clinics, which make up nearly 50% of our services.

We would like our website to do the following:

1. Link to the statewide legal services intake portal

2. Have an updated and interactive schedule of our legal clinics, as well as those held by our partner agencies.

3. Publicize our fundraising events and efforts, as well as encourage people to follow our Facebook page

4. Make applying to volunteer easy and make it easier for us to recognize those who have volunteered with us over the last year.

5. Operate efficiently on a mobile electronic device.

How the new functionality will help

A new website would enable Legal Services of Dakota County, Ltd. (LADC) to reach more people and would directly connect more people with appropriate legal services. It will make our staff more efficient and will help potential clients get the information they need more quickly.

Often, people call LADC because they cannot get current information about our services, especially our free legal clinics, off of our website. We hold up to 12 family law clinics in 6 locations and 5 consumer/civil law clinics in 2 locations throughout our service area each month. Each clinic has slightly different rules and sign up procedures. It would be easiest for applicants if they could see that information before contacting our office for directions. In addition, by connecting directly to the state-wide intake portal, Justice4MN (, rather than using our individual online system, we can ensure that all applicants get directed to the appropriate legal services program based on their location and their legal issue, and that they have an initial income-eligibility screening before they reach our intake staff.

How our organization will use the technology

Our website is the first way many people access our program, so it is critical that the site is clear, accessible, and comprehensive. We currently receive up to 20 telephone calls a day from people who cannot figure out how to sign up for a legal clinic or apply for services on our website. A new website would allow our staff to direct people to the next clinic they qualify for, as well as tell them they can get additional information about future clinics on our website. We anticipate many people will directly call our program partners to sign up for clinics, based on the information that will be available on our new website.

The direct connection to the state-wide intake portal will significantly impact our intake process, making it easier for us to focus our limited resources on eligible clients in our service area. It will also allow potential clients to be immediately referred to other programs if their legal problem falls outside of our acceptance guidelines.

Who will use the technology

LADC has a small staff (3 FTE), so everyone will benefit from the new website, from the person who first answers an incoming call, to our intake worker and our Volunteer Program Coordinator.

Basically, a new website would make all of our jobs easier, because we would no longer have to say things like, "I'm sorry that information is not available on our website" or "Yes, I know our website isn't very good."

Before & After Snapshots

Thumbnail_tc2017-legal-before Thumbnail_tc2017-ladc-after

42 Messages from Supporters

2017-03-23 20:25:13 UTC
William Topka

LADC provides a vital service to our community and it deserves a shiny new website that matches its dedication to service.

2017-03-19 19:05:01 UTC
Karl Kruse

LADC provides a vital service to our community. Updating and enhancing the website will allow LADC to better reach the people who so desperately need its services.

2017-03-18 02:22:15 UTC

Legal Assistance of Dakota County could really use a new website! They are an *amazing* organization and do an great job of providing much needed legal services to families in need, but let's be honest: their website could be better. Much, much better. Please help them out!

2017-03-18 03:03:27 UTC

LDAC is an amazing organization, serving critical needs that just aren't served by other organizations, and unfortunately not well served by government organizations. The community is lucky to have them. However, like many amazing nonprofits, their website has the functionality and usability of something that is more than ten years old. Not only does the look awkward and clunky, it makes it harder for potential clients in need to access services. The desire to also make the site function on a mobile device is critical for the many potential families in need who primarily get their internet access through their phones. I hope you will seriously consider helping them to transform their website and it's functionality so that they can continue to optimally support these important needs. Thank you.

2017-03-18 02:34:08 UTC

LDAC provides vital services to the community. It served over 1300 clients in 2016 alone. A new website is key to serving these clients more efficiently. Please provide this assistance to them so they can serve others.

2017-03-18 02:41:03 UTC

The perfect example of an inverse relationship: the amount of good this organization does is the inverse of how dreadful their website is. Their limited funds have been spent on client services (with as little as possible going to overhead or anything not mission critical). While they will never be able to spend the money to create the kind of website winning this contest would allow them to have, winning it would also allow them to put information out into the community that would make a direct impact on local families in need. Give them a website as amazing as the effects they have on their clients lives!

2017-03-18 12:47:42 UTC

LADC is a awesome organization who does amazing things for low income families, especially women and children. I have worked with Domestic Violence shelters since I was in college - over 20 years - and the work LADC does is vital to successfully allowing individuals and their childr2n to be separated from violent partners and break the cycle of intimate partner violence. However, their website doesn't do them justice- it's terrible and makes them appear amateur and ill equipped to handle the substantial and complex legal challenges their clients face. Please help them.

2017-03-19 03:19:19 UTC

I made the new LADC logo and would love to see them be able to put it on their site! That's not too much for them to ask, right?
But seriously, they are a great organization and super easy to work with and deserve a website that will help them to help others in need.

2017-03-19 15:53:00 UTC

Legal Assistance of Dakota County provides high quality legal services to very low income clients. The dedicated attorneys and staff work tirelessly to help people who have no place else to go for legal representation. LADC is a critical need for low income individuals. Whereas family law is the primary focus, LADC partners with other organizations to address additional needs. They are an amazing organization.

2017-03-19 16:00:25 UTC

The web is how we communicate and websites need to be attractive and functional. LADC provides essential services to a segment of society that has few alternatives. Their website needs a major update, which would benefit this small, hard-working organization. They deserve assistance with a technological problem so they can better help others with legal assistance.

2017-03-19 21:04:20 UTC

People who dedicate their time and talent to organizations like LADC deserve our gratitude, and communicating with the public through a website is critical to their mission of providing excellent legal services to women and children who have no other options. Please help them update and modernize their public face. It seems a small price to facilitate their work.

2017-03-20 02:12:45 UTC

LADC needs these resources to update their website to assist better functionality for their clients. They provide much needed legal expertise to an underserved population. This funding would provide a much needed update to help LADC further their mission.

2017-03-20 00:15:40 UTC

This organization provides great work--keeping clients safe from abusers, keeping families stable, and helping their neighbors in other essential ways. Their website needs to be as awesome as they are. They are true heroes!

2017-03-19 23:03:20 UTC

This is a phenomenal, hardworking organization that needs this help to improve their services and to provide better access to their low income clients.

2017-03-20 00:51:59 UTC

Legal Assistance of Dakota County do a great service to many people and certainly could reach many more who are in need if they had updated equipment. Please help them.

2017-03-20 02:06:24 UTC

LADC is a fabulous organization that helps low income families. However, their website definitely needs updating to help with the assistance of these well deserving families. Lets get this updated now!!!

2017-03-20 09:52:35 UTC

I have volunteered in my own city for many years, helping with the kinds of issues LADC deals with regularly.I have also donated to their fundraising auctions to show my support. We need more wide-ranging organizations like LADC all over the country.
An updated website would be one good way of reaching more people.
However, given my own experience with various websites and organizations, not only would I update the current LADC site, I would also make every effort possible to enhance the person to person contacts possible by phone. Talking to a live person is essential in taking steps to get help. Hopefully the new website would enhance this vehicle to assist people in need of services.

2017-03-20 14:36:14 UTC

LADC is a wonderful organization that assists low income families. They are in need of a new updated website, let us help them out!

2017-03-20 19:08:58 UTC
Kristen Sukura, Sexual Violence Center

Our agency benefited from a website through the Overnight Website Challenge in 2014, so we know first-hand how impactful winning a spot to get a new website with the Nerdery can be.

And, as an agency that works with marginalized populations often unable to access the legal resources that could change their lives, we know the critical role that organizations like LADC play in our community. LADC fills a very big gap, felt by people in crisis, people with no where else to turn who are trying to navigate complex legal systems: people who deserve justice.

A new website will connect more people in need to the services that LADC offers, and link the agency with donors to keep their work going. Please choose this worthy organization to get a new website!

2017-03-21 02:26:25 UTC

I appreciate the legal services which are made available to those who are underserved. There can be no justice for all without representation for every client, regardless of their ability to pay.

2017-03-21 15:33:33 UTC
Sarah Altschuller

LADC provides invaluable resources to meet the legal needs of a vulnerable community that is undeniably underserved. A new website would help LADC reach more people in need of legal assistance.

2017-03-21 02:31:02 UTC

Improving the website for LADC will help people locate the needed legal services which are made available by this dedicated staff.

2017-03-21 15:37:08 UTC

As someone involved in the domestic violence prevention and support field, I know the importance of these types of legal services -- particularly for those with limited means. An improved website will help LADC reach those who need their help when they have few options available.

2017-03-21 16:32:48 UTC
Karissa Richardson

As long time volunteer with LADC, I have had the opportunity to see the good work done by this small organization. The staff is dedicated and hard working and are able to do amazing work with limited resources. Having an updated, functional website would help them by making them more accessible to potential clients in need and would ensure that the resources available are applied to the legal work that is essential for the protection of client's rights and safety.

2017-03-21 16:33:18 UTC

Legal assistance for the disenfranchised is always and forever an uphill struggle continuously stretched past its limits.
LADC remains stalwart in this endeavor.
An updated, more efficient website would be among the simplest of ways to provide better services to Dakota county

2017-03-21 17:49:11 UTC

The LADC is providing legal advice and help for the issues of the 21st century, but their website looks solidly stuck in the late 1990s. It is time for that to change!

2017-03-22 02:30:13 UTC

LADC provides a critical service to those in need of legal services. Their current website isn't user friendly and makes it difficult to find resources. An updated website would help them streamline services and resources available to their clients. Both LADC's hard working staff and the clients they serve would greatly benefit from this help.

2017-03-23 00:04:47 UTC

LADC provides essential services to women and families in need. With an updated website they will be able to reach out and provide assistance to more of these well deserving people.

2017-03-23 02:11:51 UTC
Patricia Buss

As a long-time volunteer for LADC, I can assure you this organization is deserving of your service. I continue to be amazed at how they have been able to continue to serve disadvantaged folks in Dakota County with fewer and fewer resources as all levels of government have reduced funding in the past and continue to threaten additional cuts in the future. An updated and functional website will allow them to increase their efficiency even more when it allows potential clients to link to the statewide portal for assistance and eligibility determinations.

2017-03-23 02:57:42 UTC

The mentorship that both attorneys provided during my time with LADC is invaluable. Both women sparked my passion for non-profits, and specifically legal aid and family law. LADC provides services for those in need and makes accessing the judicial system less stressful in very stressful times. As someone who once answered those first incoming calls, I can attest to how a new website would help both those in the community and the small staff at LADC. In our current climate where legal aid funding is becoming sparse, an updated website will increase efficiency, allowing the staff to assist more community members. I cannot think of an organization that is more deserving of a new website.

2017-03-23 03:48:14 UTC

The work done by the many volunteer attorneys at LADC is invaluable to the community.

2017-03-23 14:22:15 UTC

LADC provides essential services to those who are in desperate need legal advice and will not likely receive it from any other source. As a volunteer, I have seen firsthand that this organization does so much good with so few resources. A new website is a necessity for their continued work, and I cannot think of a more deserving organization.

2017-03-23 14:32:49 UTC

Having an updated webpage would really help potential clients and prose litigants. Having easy access to information would be essential. Legal Assistance is a much needed resource and program.

2017-03-23 13:24:37 UTC
Henry Schaeffer

Hey, love this organization! You guys do amazing things with the meager resources that you have! But this website - you need to upgrade!!

2017-03-23 18:47:41 UTC
Kathy, Domestic violence advocate

LADC does vital work for our clients in family law and protective orders. Clients often use mobile phones for most of their day to day web search. Computer access is not always available so having a site that works on a mobile platform would be very helpful. Making it easy to find a nearby law clinic would also be useful. So often clients have urgent needs and being able to find a location that is safe, convenient and timely is important. Thanks for all you do LADC to ensure clients have access to legal help during some of the most difficult times they face.

2017-03-24 14:20:28 UTC
Bridget Nason

LADC provides vital legal services to low-income individuals in Dakota County. As you can see their website is desperately in need of an overhaul. Please pick LADC's website for your overhaul!

2017-03-24 12:29:27 UTC
Dana McKenzie

I have volunteered for LADC throughout my nearly 30 year legal career. The lawyers at LADC are wonderful, dedicated and serve clients whom would otherwise be literally lost in the legal system. LADC also coordinates dozens of volunteer attorneys who serve thousands of families. In these days where the poor, immigrants, and the "little guy or gal" feels under attack nearly every day as program after program is cut, LADC and its volunteers gives these folks a voice, and a chance at fairness and equity.

2017-03-24 13:20:37 UTC

LADC provides a lot of work and support for low income families. I appreciate the work that they do!

2017-03-24 14:02:25 UTC

LADC is a critical organization to the community. Their clients, many times, have limited resources to access the help of LADC and most are victims of domestic violence. The people seeking help from LADC may not have enough minutes on their cell phones and they may not have regular access to the internet apart from their abusers. When they do access the website of LADC (from a school, library or trusted friend's internet source), they need to get reliable information, a secure connection which us safe from being tracked, and which can meet their unique, emergency needs.

Additionally, LADC expands its ability to assist clients by utilizing the services of volunteer attorneys who provide their services for free. These volunteers have a need to connect with LADC often time during off hours when the attorneys are not working at their day jobs and the offices at LADC are closed. A useful, interactive website will be helpful to facilitate recruitment of volunteers and communication between the attorneys and the LADC staff.

LADC's needs to set up a user friendly website are complex and could benefit from the expertise of Nerdery.

2017-03-24 14:20:28 UTC
Bridget Nason

LADC provides vital legal services to low-income individuals in Dakota County. As you can see their website is desperately in need of an overhaul. Please pick LADC's website for your overhaul!

2017-03-24 14:37:30 UTC

LADC does excellent work to support the local community and deserves to be better connected.

2017-03-24 22:19:49 UTC
Shawn Reinke

LADC serves the underprivileged and helps them to find the valuable legal resources that they would otherwise be unable to afford. In order to serve as many as possible, LADC runs a tight ship with few resources. A new, optimized website would allow them to reach more individuals and hopefully better source volunteers and resources.

Our Mission

LADC strives to meet the civil legal needs of low-income residents of Dakota and Goodhue Counties through our staff and volunteer programs. These complementary programs allow us to provide a wide array of services to eligible clients. LADC staff offer immediate referrals, legal advice, and representation to family law clients who have the most complex cases and the highest barriers to accessing the legal system because of domestic violence, language, or disability. Our volunteers take pro bono cases and provide advice at our self-help clinics in West St. Paul, Apple Valley, and Hastings and at the 360 Communities / Lewis House shelters in Eagan and Hastings. As of February 2017, we offer at least 30 appointments for consumer law and 84 appointments for family law each month throughout Dakota County and 4 appointments for family law in Goodhue County. Our goal is provide some level of service to everyone who contacts our office, based on their individual needs, our board-approved case acceptance guidelines, and our available resources.