On LawNext: How One Legal Aid Program Is Creating A Culture Of Innovation To Enhance Access to Justice

At a time when some 92% of the civil legal problems of low-income Americans receive no or inadequate legal help, innovative measures are needed to close the justice gap. Recognizing that, Legal Aid of North Carolina, a program that provides free legal services to low-income people through the state, last year became the first legal services program in the United States to launch an Innovation Lab, devoted to identifying and implementing new solutions for bridging the justice gap.

Development of the lab was initiated by Ashley Campbell, who returned to LANC as its CEO in 2022 after having worked there at the start of her career, and Scheree Gilchrist, a longtime LANC attorney who Campbell named as LANC’s first chief innovation officer soon after she became CEO. Also instrumental in creating the lab was Jeffrey M. Kelly, partner at the law firm Nelson Mullins, who now serves as chair of the lab’s advisory board.

Campbell, Gilchrist and Kelly are our guests in today’s episode. Host Bob Ambrogi interviewed them live last week at the Legal Services Corporation’s Innovations in Technology Conference in Charlotte, N.C. The three had just spoken together as part of a panel on creating a culture of innovation in legal services. In this interview, they share their thoughts on that and provide details on the work of the Innovation Lab.

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