• 20+ years of NLS Courthouse Clinics
• DASH: Partnership between NLS & L.A.
◦ Individual assistance
◦ Attorney review of all forms
Across 100 miles of L.A.
Over 4,500 litigants annually.
1 staff attorney.
1. Fill out each form using Essential Forms
2. Print forms
3. Litigant reviews forms
4. Fax forms to off-site attorney
5. Attorney reviews forms (40+ pages each)
6. Attorney calls volunteer for changes
7. Volunteer makes changes
8. (Forms re-faxed for more review)
9. Litigant signs forms
Logos and Graphics Basics
ProBonoNet, LSC, SJI,
◦ day-to-day management
◦ Operates Web server.
◦ Provides training and
In use in 28 states.
Program intended for use by Litigants:
TurboTax, ICAN!, EzLegalFile
Programs intended for use by Legal
Professionals: Essential Forms, ProDocs
Program intended for use by both
volunteers/litigants and legal professionals to
work together at different (remote) locations.
◦ Stretch limited resources,
◦ Solve DASH problems,
◦ Use important features of computers, and
◦ “Do no harm” (Don’t destroy what is good about the
Other (New) Goals:
◦ Increase lawyers ability to control volunteers.
◦ Increase participation of lawyers in the preparation
of the litigant paperwork.
◦ Improve lawyer’s ability to review papers and
The answer to every question can be used
consistently on every item on every form in
◦ Not just caption information.
Answers from one program’s interview can be
used in another program. Answers from the
DASH DVRO program can be used to:
◦ Start a Dissolution case
◦ Start a Parentage case
If a custody order is requested, the program
automatically prints on the declaration: “I ask
the Court for the custody and visitation
orders described in the attached form DV-
105 because: “.
◦ (The volunteer is prompted to ask why the order is
If the volunteer indicates litigant needs an
interpreter, the program automatically prints
on the declaration: “I will need a [Spanish]
interpreter for all proceedings in this case.”
It speeds her review
of the forms. If she
sees that the “other
are listed in DV-
100 Item 3, She
knows that they are
also listed on the
DV-110 and the
Word program produces an MS Word
document. Document is emailed to attorney
for review and editing.
Reviewer can change PDF forms by opening
PDF program and changing answers.
Better quality declarations
Consistent, accurate forms
Faster forms preparation
More time to prepare the declaration
Program prints out litigant information
Attorney can edit declaration directly.
Mobile backup – not chained to fax.
The program opens the possibility for an
attorney to assist many, many more litigants.
◦ Currently, the attorney/litigant ratio is generally
1:12. That is 36 litigants assisted in 3 hours --
with every declaration and form reviewed.
DASH is recruiting pro bono attorneys for in-office
review of forms. (No need to drive to the clinic.)
DASH is working with shelter advocates for off-site
forms preparation. Shelter advocate can use the program
and work with DASH attorneys or pro bono attorneys.
Assistance could be available at night and on weekends.
Requires a lot of upfront work. (Every field on
every form is filled out. Many “warning”
situation has be considered. The program is
always a work in progress.)
The program slows down the process at first
as volunteers adjust to the new system.
The program doesn’t eliminate the need to
for another program (like Essential Forms).
Volunteers can be resistant to change.
Program doesn’t shorten the volunteers time
with a litigant, but it changes the focus of
interaction from paperwork to writing
◦ Emphasizes some skills (writing declarations);
◦ Deemphasizes other skills (operating Essential
◦ Requires New Training methods.
DASH uses ProBonoNet’s server in Dayton,
Ohio everyday. The Internet, DASH’s network
connection, and the LawHelp Interactive
server can go down.
Creating a project (DASH)/program (LHI)
requires village. It is a group project. It
requires a lot of communication.
Where does it fit with other self-help service
models? (e.g., Litigant programs (e.g.,
◦ Declaration is very important.
◦ Legal Concepts for litigants are not complex or
difficult to teach.
◦ Volunteers/staff/shelter advocates/case workers
◦ Volume of paperwork is large.
Courts could share experts in areas of law
that require special knowledge, but where
individual courts can’t afford to employ an
expert in a particular area of law.
A single attorney/expert could use a program
◦ Groups of Courts in a Region
◦ Entire State?