LSC expands access to justice with Box

Getting civil legal aid to the people who need it most

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4 icon problem 2
  • Teams needed easy file sharing and logical workflows with external partners
  • Being accountable to federal sources of grant money requires the ability to surface information easily
  • The new grantmaking platform required a lot of moving parts from different vendors
4 icon solution 0
  • File requesting and sharing tools simplify and secure external collaboration
  • Centralized content, with powerful Box search features, makes it possible to find anything anytime
  • Box worked closely with both LSC and the third-party vendor REI Systems to create a custom solution

Making equal legal protection a reality, not just an ideal

It’s right there in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

“Nor shall any State ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Yet, for many people in this country, equal protection under the law is an ideal rather than a reality. Attorneys are imperative to navigating the legal system, yet attorney fees can be so expensive that they put this necessary resource out of reach.

“America’s partner for equal justice,” as the tagline goes, Legal Services Corporation (LSC) provides an antidote. Via grants, the not-for-profit supports 132 nationwide legal aid organizations (grantees) that assist with civil matters from domestic violence to child custody to housing evictions. They help households at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines, from the working poor to veterans, families with children to farmers, people with disabilities to the elderly.

The central function that makes this possible is grantmaking, the administrative means to a humanitarian end for LSC. Technology is important to that effort, and a handful of years ago, the IT team at LSC decided to build a brand-new grant management system that now sits at the center of everything the organization does, keeping workflows organized and ultimately getting more grants to more grantees, faster. Box — the Content Cloud — is at the heart of this system.


One system, capabilities across technologies

LSC needed a technology solution that would easily centralize information in the cloud and provide the correct level of permissions to both internal and external users. This led the IT team to the grants management vendor REI Systems, which created a Salesforce-friendly solution customized with Box Platform and its APIs. That system is now “integral to everything we do,” says CIO Jada Breegle, “It’s our content management. It’s where we keep everything. It’s so important to us.”

Custom integrations ensure that any attachments in the grants management system automatically get pulled into Box every night, so the Content Cloud can serve as a system of record for all documents. Plus, everyone within the organization has appropriate access to the documents they need. Today, 140 people use Box on a daily basis.

“Box is one of our major business systems,” Breegle says, “and the main plus is that you don’t have to look in a bunch of places for stuff. It’s all in Box, which simplifies the search for information.”

Making sure the money goes where it’s supposed to go

To apply for a grant, an organization in, say, St. Louis used to have to fill out a 700-question application. As the IT team re-engineered the process, they whittled that number down to 200. Still, it’s a lot of questions, and applying for a grant is no small feat, so having a streamlined application system makes things easier for both grantees and internal staff.

LSC grants a lot of money, mostly funded by Congress. Being able to track every step of the process and easily surface application information is critical to staying accountable to the feds, and the organization has to be very transparent with content processes for the sake of both grantees and sources of grant money. They also have to confidently ensure that money doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

Annual cybersecurity training for all employees is key to this effort, even with content safely centralized in the Content Cloud. “I concentrate on making our system secure,” explains Breegle, “so the wrong person isn’t let into accounts. We teach our employees not to click on the wrong links.”

LSC also uses Box Shield and Box Governance as well to boost content security and governance. “It’s important to us that the content in Box is secure,” Breegle confirms. “And I never worry about it.”

Visual representation of users and their files in the content cloud

Benefits of Box specific to external content sharing

LSC is typical of the type of organization that needs to be able to share information and files with external stakeholders just as often as they do internally. Because the not-for-profit is so intimately connected to so many grantees and beholden to grant request processes, most content is shared outside of the organization.

And while any not-for-profit organization has to be transparent, it’s still important to be discreet in file sharing, which is why the Box File Request and file sharing features have been so helpful. The ability to set permissions for one group or specific team means stakeholders can share files and information easily both within and outside the organization.

Breegle confirms, “The beauty of Box is that if we need to share documents with the other groups, we simply provide them with the link.”

Partnership in building a highly customized platform

Although REI Systems owned the buildout on this project, Breegle and the IT team have a direct line of communication to Box that has proven valuable. “I love that we can count on the support,” she says. “With a lot of vendors, you don’t know the point of contact. Box does a great job — you know who your person is, and your account rep is very engaged. My team gets a lot out of that.”

In the near future, Breegle expects the team to evaluate Box Sign and Box Canvas to further simplify and streamline workflows. She predicts that other savings will come from the functionality Box continues to add to its offerings: “I really like to tie us to those sorts of services and vendors that keep giving us functionality and adding value to our investment.”


We are all in when it comes to Box content management. I don’t want to have a million different apps. With Box, it’s all under one umbrella.

— Jada Breegle, CIO, Legal Services Corporation


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