All the Wild Possibilities: Technology that Attacks Barriers to Access to Justice
32 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2010 Last revised: 3 Oct 2013
Date Written: Summer 2009
Predicting how technology will affect the future of the legal profession is difficult and unreliable work. I have made my share of such predictions in the past thirty years, including foretelling the death of the paper casebook in law schools and vast improvements in law practice that would be triggered by computers and document assembly software. Neither of these two prophesies has yet been fulfilled. Yet a real success story has emerged based in part on my persistent optimism that technology can improve the delivery of legal services. A2J Author, a modest software tool that allows lawyers to build guided Internet interviews for prospective clients, has been adopted across the United States and in several foreign countries as an interface for public access to legal processes. This Article describes the origin of A2J Author as a collaboration by courts, legal aid agencies, and funding sources. The Article explores the combination of factors that produced this technology, which successfully attacks barriers to access to justice. Finally, the Article speculates on whether A2J Author can begin to transform the delivery of legal aid and government services to low income people.
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