What would a good online legal help resource look like?


If we were to build a 2016 tool to help people, searching online for help with a life problem (that we know has a possible legal solution/redress), what would that look like? What are some of the key features and heuristics we can use to define what this next-generation type of tool should be?

(Hint: it probably shouldn’t be one tool — but more of a platform, a network of many different tools that are seamlessly linked together.)

Here is one vision of those key heuristics, the agenda for a good online legal help tool. It comes from my notes of a presentation made last week by the NCSC’s Tom Clark and legal consultant John Graecen at a conference hosted by IAALS at the University of Denver.

These are the defining features they outlined of what it would take to build an online tool that would effectively guide a lay person through the entire process of figuring out they have a legal issue and then finding in pursuing dealing with it.

Specifically, they’re interested in a scoping out a new kind of online legal portal to better deliver help to self-represented litigants, people who want to do it themselves, and people who want to find lawyers or unbundled services to deal with a legal problem.