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  1. Diane Trunk, NLS – LA Harry Jacobs, AOC - CFCC
  2. • 20+ years of NLS Courthouse Clinics • DASH: Partnership between NLS & L.A. Superior Court • Self-Help ◦ Individual assistance ◦ Attorney review of all forms
  3.  4 clinics.  Across 100 miles of L.A.  Over 4,500 litigants annually.  1 staff attorney.
  4. 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
  5. Logos and Graphics Basics  Collaboration of ProBonoNet, LSC, SJI, and Capsoft  ProbonoNet provides: ◦ day-to-day management ◦ Operates Web server. ◦ Provides training and support.  In use in 28 states.
  6.  programs/equalaccess/ dash.htm
  7.  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.
  8.  Usual suspects: ◦ Stretch limited resources, ◦ Solve DASH problems, ◦ Use important features of computers, and ◦ “Do no harm” (Don’t destroy what is good about the current services.)  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 declaration.
  9.  The answer to every question can be used consistently on every item on every form in the filing. ◦ 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
  10.  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 needed.)  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.”
  11. It speeds her review of the forms. If she sees that the “other protected people” are listed in DV- 100 Item 3, She knows that they are also listed on the DV-110 and the DV-130
  12.  Word program produces an MS Word document. Document is emailed to attorney for review and editing.  Sample Declaration  Reviewer can change PDF forms by opening PDF program and changing answers.
  13.  Better quality declarations  Consistent, accurate forms  Faster forms preparation  More time to prepare the declaration  Program prints out litigant information  Faster backup  Easier backup  Attorney can edit declaration directly.  Mobile backup – not chained to fax.
  14.  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.
  15.  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).
  16.  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 declarations.  This change: ◦ Emphasizes some skills (writing declarations); ◦ Deemphasizes other skills (operating Essential Forms); and ◦ Requires New Training methods.
  17.  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.
  18.  Where does it fit with other self-help service models? (e.g., Litigant programs (e.g., EzLegalFile); Workshops) ◦ Declaration is very important. ◦ Legal Concepts for litigants are not complex or difficult to teach. ◦ Volunteers/staff/shelter advocates/case workers are available. ◦ Volume of paperwork is large.
  19.  Guardianship  Conservatorship  Expungement of Criminal Convictions  Special Education  Collections  Native American Issues
  20.  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 to assist: ◦ Groups of Courts in a Region ◦ Entire State?
  21.  Litigants Using Computers at Self-Help Centers  Litigants Using Computers Anywhere
  22.  Diane Trunk:  Harry Jacobs: