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$1,000 Challenge - LexHacks 2015 - Michigan Legal Help Program - Donor Funded

Challenge Title: Gamified Legal-Health Checkup

This is a donor-funded public-interest challenge. To donate funds toward this challenge, please email trippa@mplp.org and linnadan@law.msu.edu or if you live in Michigan, donate directly at http://goo.gl/imAAvB (identifying “LexHacks” as the honoree). A donation to the Michigan Legal Help Program qualifies as a charitable contribution.

Description:

1. The Gamified Legal-Health Checkup assesses the legal health of an individual and gives tips for how users can improve their legal health. Users should get feedback throughout the process of answering questions in the form of an engaging game designed to gather information to assess their legal health. Think of something similar to assessing one’s credit score – What’s your legal health score? What can you do to improve it? Find a way to reward users for good scores and encourage them to take steps to improve.

2. Users could have accounts to track their progress, or they could the tool as a visitor and not make an account.

3. The Checkup tool should respond to inputs with information educating the user. For example, explaining the benefits of a will and explaining how to get one.

The tool should start with the following areas:
(a) Planning for the Unknown. For example, questions could include, but would not be limited to:
a. Do you have a will?
i. If yes, good for you! Award points. Is it recent? If no, deduct some points and advise client, “It is good to review your will every few years to make sure it is current. If it is no longer current, consider making a new one.”
ii. If no will, ask why not? Don't know how to get one/don't want one/don't need one. Each option would have information about how to make a will and why making a will is generally a good idea.
b. If you have children, have you decided who you want to take care of them if something happens to you? (If yes, award points). Have you discussed this with the potential guardians? (If yes, more points). Do you have a will that makes this wish clear? (If yes, max points). If no to any of these questions, no points, and give user info about why this is important and how they can take steps to do it.
c. Have you decided who should make medical decisions for you if you can't? (If yes, award points). Have you discussed this with this person or these people? (If yes, more points). Do you have a medical power of attorney that makes this wish clear? (If yes, max points). If no to any of these questions, no points, and give user info about why this is important and how they can take steps to do it.

(b) Housing. For example, questions could include, but would not be limited to:
a. Do you own your house? Follow up questions about loans and foreclosure, after soliciting information about payment history.
b. Do you rent your house? Ask questions about common landlord-tenant issues: “Do you know what to do if you miss a rent payment?” Do you know what to do if you need a repair to your home? This style could include options that are good, better, best, wrong, with different points for each and advice with each option selected.

(c) Taxes. Questions could include, but not be limited to:
a. Do you file income taxes each year? If yes, good work! Award points. If no, no points, and ask why not? Give a couple of common legit reasons to not file (e.g., no income – remind of income limit for filing taxes) and common non-legit reasons, with reminder that income taxes are required to be filed for people earning over $XXX, problems created by not filing/paying can get worse with time, and recommend that user visit income tax clinic or attorney.
b. Do you owe any overdue property taxes? If no, good work – award points. If yes, alert to dangers of this (prop tax foreclosure) and ways to request hardship waiver and get other assistance with property taxes.
c. Etc.

4. Beyond addressing areas like these three, the tool should be scaleable to easily add additional topics. Users can complete one area at a time, can select the area they want to do, and either continue to another area or exit when one category is finished.

5. It’s not part of the scope for this challenge, but a very robust implementation would have the ability to include/pull content from existing sources (such as MichiganLegalHelp.org or IllinoisLegalAidOnline.org through public APIs).

6. The challenge described above is different than the following examples. Nevertheless, it is instructive to view the following example from Canada, the Halton Community Legal Services check-up, funded by Legal Aid Ontario’s Fund to Strengthen Capacity of Legal Clinics: https://www.legalhealthcheckup.ca/

Another interesting example--which again is different from the challenge described above--is:http://statesidelegal.org/legal-needs-check-tool-interactive-interview. These can give you an idea of the wide variety of topics to be covered, and the ways in which gamification could be used to educate people about their rights and simultaneously let them know how well they are handling the existing and potential legal challenges in their lives.

Jurisdiction: The solution should be standardized and flexible so that it would be easy to implement it in any jurisdiction by modifying it to account for any differences in that jurisdiction’s law. For the purposes of building a solution to this challenge, it may be based on Michigan or Illinois law.

Technology to Be Used: Build a mobile-friendly website accessible by common browsers (build on an open source platform (extra points for Drupal, but it is not required))

Prize: $1,000

Sponsor Designee: Angela Tripp, Project Manager, Michigan Legal Help Program

Email address for Challenge Questions: trippa@mplp.org

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