From the Law Office Manager website:
“According to just about every legal management article, webinar, or podcast, the landscape of the legal market in the past few years has changed—dramatically. Clients, it seems, are firmly in the driver’s seat. And with an abundance of legal service providers, these clients are demanding efficient and cost-effective solutions, leading many firms to rethink their infrastructures and find innovative ways to do more with fewer resources.
There is no shortage of news about SRL (self-represented litigant) service resources, here in Oregon and beyond. Two recent stories and a list of SRL service provider resources:
- Legal self-help in Bend (Deschutes County), Oregon: Bend Bulletin article: “Is access to legal help equitable in Central Oregon? Deschutes County Circuit Court, library and attorneys to examine resources,” by Claire Withycombe, The Bulletin, April 3, 2016.
- Family Law Self Help Center Expansion in the Anne Arundel (MD) County Circuit Court.(Note: Anne Arundel is pronounced “an-a-RUN-dal”) (Now ask me how to pronounce Monongahela and Schuylkill)
While there are many excellent legal self-help initiatives, there are few studies that evaluate those self-help programs after the fact, i.e. after the self-represented litigant has used the software or the court forms and system (e.g. in small claims court) to resolve a problem or right a wrong.
But the surveys that do exist can be helpful to others. See, for example, this report, which you can find at the SRLN Stories page – and here is the direct link:
A2J = Access to Justice: Words and Names Matter
The Law Librarians at the State Of Wisconsin Law Library know that the difference between a Legal Resource Center or a Legal Information Center and a Law Library matters to Law Library patrons, whether they are lawyers or self-represented litigants. Read this article from their WSLL Newsletter, February 2016 issue:
Law Library Hires New Public Services Attorney (from the press release):
“.… The Public Law Library of King County is pleased to announce that Marc Lampson has joined the Public Law Library to serve as the library’s first Public Services Attorney. The newly created position is an innovative response to the ever growing phenomenon of people representing themselves in legal proceedings. Recent statistics from the King County Superior Court show that in 63% of general civil cases at least one party was not represented by a lawyer. In domestic or family law cases, the percentage climbed to 80%. In 91% of the landlord/tenant or eviction cases, only the landlord was represented by a lawyer. In 50% of family law cases, neither side was represented. This trend is typical throughout the United States, and law librarians have found that these unrepresented litigants frequently come to the law library for help.
As a result, a few law libraries in other states have developed self-help centers to provide their patrons with not only research assistance, but legal assistance as well…. [Mark’s] work will eventually entail establishing a self-help center in the library to provide direct legal assistance for patrons and to coordinate further legal assistance through referrals, clinics, workshops, and innovative online methods for the delivery of legal services.
Excerpt: “The Public Law Library of King County is proud to announce a new full-time, benefit position of Public Services Attorney with the Law Library. The candidate will not only work on as a part-time reference services librarian but will develop policies and procedures to create an Access to Justice Center in the Law Library. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of three years of practice and an active membership with the Washington State Bar Association. A master’s degree in library science and family law experience (or other areas that are commonly needed by a self-represented litigant) are preferred….” [Link to article.]