Every year, millions of Americans unable to afford an attorney face potentially devastating legal problems such as domestic violence, foreclosure, eviction, and child custody disputes. LawHelp Interactive, an online document assembly service, allows those without a lawyer to quickly and accurately prepare critical legal forms via an easy-to-use online interface. By helping those without a lawyer navigate the courts, LawHelp Interactive also reduces the burden on overstretched court staff.
LawHelp Interactive is a program of Pro Bono Net, a nonprofit leader in innovative programs that increase access to justice. Arkansas is among an increasing number of court systems around the country using LawHelp Interactive to improve access to the courts. The service is now available in 26 states and was used to complete more than 237,000 documents in the first 10 months of 2011.
In addition to allowing courts to host and manage online forms, LawHelp Interactive provides training and support on how to create user-friendly forms using software donated by HotDocs and A2J Author, and provides support to court staff and end users. LawHelp Interactive receives support from the Legal Services Corporation via its Technology Initiative Grants program.
“We look forward to working with Pro Bono Net to introduce online legal forms that will help Arkansas residents address critical civil legal issues,” said J.D. Gingerich, Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts. Initially, forms will be provided to assist with filing domestic violence petitions to obtain orders of protection.
“LawHelp Interactive is a great example of how technology-enabled services can help increase access to justice,” said Claudia C. Johnson, LawHelp Interactive Program Manager. “We are excited to work with Arkansas to implement the service.”
# # #
About Pro Bono Net: Pro Bono Net is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access to justice through innovative uses of technology and increased volunteer lawyer participation. Pro Bono Net uses innovative web-based platforms—www.probono.net, www.lawhelp.org and www.lawhelpinteractive.org —to recruit and support volunteer lawyers and provide direct information and tools for self representation to low-income communities. Pro Bono Net has also developed Pro Bono Manager, pro bono practice management software that helps AmLaw 200 law firms increase pro bono participation, manage pro bono caseloads more efficiently and raise internal and external awareness of pro bono efforts. For more information, please visit http://www.probono.net.