SESSION: Building the Tools for Self-Represented Litigants: Law Help Interactive and A2J Author
Presenters: Claudia Johnson, Program Manager, LawHelp Interactive
John Mayer, Exectuve Director, Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI)
LawHelp Interactive (LHI) and A2J Author have partnered for more than a decade to improve access to justice by making easy to use online forms available for free across the U.S. and abroad. Both A2J Author and LHI began addressing the market gap for self help services and tools in the early 2000s. They have created a scalable technological solution to the problem of limited court and legal aid attorney resources for the growing number of self-represented litigants in need of support. With funding from the Legal Services Corporation's Technology Initiative Grants, the State Justice Institute, the National Center for State Courts, and other sources, LawHelp Interactive and A2J Author emerged as an award-winning platform and interface for helping self-represented litigants learn about their legal issues and complete the necessary court documents. Through a growing community of legal aid and court partners in more than 40 states, more than 4 million legal documents have been created since 2005. Over the past decade, A2J Author and LHI have evolved in new and significant ways in response to the legal aid and court communities feedback and feature requests. These enhancements have included supporting additional languages; adding audio, images, and videos; and recently moving to a mobile responsive system. Using demographic surveys, increased analytics tools, and continued community support, LHI and A2J Author will continue to iterate and further access to justice, one technological step at a time. This workshop will share on the lessons learned from years of a collaboration focussed on improving access to justice for all. We will highlight how this national infrastructure can support continued innovation in services to self-represented litigants and strengthen the work of courts, legal aid programs, libraries, and other organizations serving them.