What is our Gateway Project?

Our Gateway Project is a suite of connected digital products designed to make matching people with the right legal help easier than ever. It has meant that clients like Sue can apply for legal help in the middle of the night, and thousands of lawyers can respond to legal need at the click of a button.

What makes up our Gateway Project?


Our intelligent online intake tool helps people understand whether they are eligible for our services and apply for help online.

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Our referral tool helps our sector colleagues understand when we can help and warm-refers clients deep into our system, reducing referral drop-out.

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Pro bono portal

Our pro bono portal revolutionises the way we work with our network of 10,000 pro bono lawyers, ensuring we’re making the most of their capacity.

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Global pro bono portal

An award winning global pro bono platform, tried and tested in Australia – now going global in partnership with justice champions around the world.

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Project overview

In 2017, we commenced our ambitious Gateway Project, aiming to scale our impact through human-centred system design and development. Our ability to scale had been constrained by burdensome processes across multiple systems, platforms and spreadsheets.

At the same time, we set out to understand the experience of everyone that engages with our services and design new ways of working to better meet needs, and where appropriate, harness the potential of rapid advances in technology heralded by the digital era.

We believed that there were several areas of opportunity to investigate:

  • the way help-seekers find, connect with and enter Justice Connect and our services
  • the way our sector colleagues find and interact with us
  • the way we interact with our network of pro bono lawyers
  • the way we pull together insights regarding supply and demand to create a more efficient pro bono marketplace.

Starting with $250,000 of seed-funding from Google, in 2017 we commenced a year of research and co-design. Our research showed us that for help-seekers the legal system is confusing and difficult to navigate – that people looking for free legal help regularly have a poor experience of finding and connecting with relevant services. We found that lawyers want to do more pro bono work, but that matching up unmet need with relevant expertise is time consuming and labour intensive. We also heard that our sector colleagues wanted to better understand Justice Connect’s different services and feel more confident making referrals to Justice Connect.

Our vision

Out of our research, we created a vision for Justice Connect’s future, and designed a suite of products that would help us to deliver on this vision.

Our bold vision is that Justice Connect will be accessible for people needing help, for workers that want to find the right help for their clients, and for organisations that need help for themselves. Guided online entry points will make understanding our services and whether we can help clear and easy. Applying for the help of a lawyer will be quick and transparent.

Technology will help us leverage pro bono too. With better systems tracking availability and interest within our pro bono network, we can allocate matters efficiently and help more lawyers contribute pro bono work more easily. Our pro bono lawyers will be able to actively search unplaced matters when they have capacity to take on extra pro bono work.

Communication across our programs, networks and with peer organisations will be greatly improved.

Our Gateway project work sits alongside our many other digital projects and investments, from building online self-help tools to our work on a new, state-of-the art client and relationship management system.

Graph of the pathways clients and lawyers will use in our legal help gateway project

The Gateway Project product suite

Based on our research and co-design we created a suite of products to transform Justice Connect. The Gateway cornerstone products are:

  • an intelligent online intake and triage tool to help people quickly and easily understand whether they are eligible for our services, and make a full application online.
  • a referral tool to help our sector colleagues understand when we can help, and easily warm-refer clients deep into our system, reducing referral drop-out.
  • pro bono portal to revolutionise the way we work with our network of 10,000 pro bono lawyers, ensuring we’re making the most of their capacity, and connecting them more efficiently, transparently and effectively with unmet legal need.

From early 2018, we have been building, launching and evaluating the different components of our Gateway Project. We have now completed each of the cornerstone suite of products, and each is in a different point in an evaluation and iteration cycle.


Central to our Gateway Project, has been engagement with our users at all stages of product development. All our Gateway Project products have been co-designed with the people who will ultimately use them. This is common sense, but we’ve found that it takes time and commitment to involve our users in design.







Project supporters



Perpetual Ltd

The Myer Foundation

The Legal Services Board of Victoria

The Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety

DLA Piper

Hive Legal



Telstra Business Women’s Awards

Kate Fazio, Head of Innovation and Engagement


Good Design Awards

Gateway Project


Australian Not-for-Profit Technology Awards

Kate Fazio, Head of Innovation and Engagement


Google Impact Challenge

Pro Bono Portal

We embrace digital innovation

We’re scaling our reach and impact through smart digital projects, so we can close the justice gap and progress social justice.

Read more about our digital innovation