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3 Ways Automation Can Enhance Access To Justice (Law 360)

The delivery of legal services to low income consumers is being transformed by automation technology such as TurboTax-like forms for people facing eviction, and that transformation only shows signs of picking up steam as researchers continue to mine its potential for legal aid.

Three lawyers at the forefront of the change spoke last week at the American Bar Association’s TechShow in Chicago about how they’re using automation and AI to help solve the access to justice crisis in the United States.

Quinten Steenhuis, a senior housing attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, highlighted a piece of technology he developed that is similar to TurboTax that is aimed at helping people facing eviction get the legal help they need.

The online form, called Massachusetts Defense for Eviction, is an intake form of sorts that queries users on what eviction-related legal issues they’re facing and gathers relevant information about the facts of their case. The questions are tailored to the user based on their responses to previous questions.

The ultimate result, Steenhuis said, is that the user gets an idea of what their legal needs are and when they connect with a legal aid provider like him there is a baseline of useful information that allows the interaction to take up less time, which lets him spend more one-on-one time with each client and fit more clients into his schedule on a given day.

“People are very hungry for this service,” Steenhuis said. “They are used to this way of interacting to solve a problem. They like that there’s something they can do on their phone.”… Read more from Law 360.