The LIFT Dane team

Three UW Law School faculty members have advanced to the finals in DreamUp Wisconsin, a UW-Madison competition seeking creative ideas for increasing the net income of 10,000 Dane County families by 10 percent. The challenge, initiated by a $1.5 award to the university, required partnerships between the campus and community.

UW Law Professors Sarah Davis, Marsha Mansfield and Mitch teamed up with two local nonprofits for their DreamUP project, which is called LIFT (Legal Interventions For Transforming) Dane. Working with Legal Action of Wisconsin and the Employment and Training Association of Dane County, they propose a suite of free legal services to help eliminate legal barriers to employment and opportunity.

Vicky Selkowe, a 2003 UW Law graduate, explains the LIFT Dane proposal:

“Thousands of Dane County households are weighed down by fixable civil legal problems—such as suspended driver’s licenses, consumer debt, child support arrears, and criminal records—that prevent them from advancing in the workforce, securing housing, and stabilizing their families. LIFT Dane will make data about these problems accessible to everyday residents; conduct holistic legal checkups to identify problems with legal solutions; and connect people to free legal aid to address these fixable legal problems. By removing barriers to finding and retaining a job, LIFT Dane’s low-cost, high-impact, tech-driven vision will boost local incomes, transform the middle class, and become a national model.”

Selkowe is Legal Action of Wisconsin’s director of Legislative, Rulemaking & Training Compliance.

The contest drew 46 proposals in August. LIFT Dane is one of three moving forward to the final round, scheduled for January 29 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Support for the contest comes from Schmidt Futures, which has committed to further funding the efforts of at least one team from the UW and each of three other partnering institutions: the Ohio State University, Arizona State University, and the University of Utah. The winners will be given the chance to further develop their plans and compete for funding to support a full-scale implementation in summer 2019.

Learn more.


Submitted by Law School News on October 16, 2019

This article appears in the categories: EJI News, Faculty, Features

Related employee profiles: Marsha Mansfield, Mitch, Sarah Davis