Lawyers need new skills and core competencies to succeed in today’s technology-driven legal practice. Document assembly and automation tools are crucial to providing quality, economical legal services in this environment. Legal educators must ensure that new attorneys are familiar with the tools and professional techniques that are becoming standard in modern law offices. These same law office automation tools can produce self-guided instructions and forms to help low income, self-represented people achieve access to justice.
The Access to Justice Author Course Project (A2J Author Course Project) is a coordinated effort between the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI®), the Center for Access to Justice & Technology (CAJT®) at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, and Idaho Legal Aid Services. This project will produce course kits created by law school clinics. We hope that these course kits will jump start the growth of future A2J Author courses and simultaneously deliver new automated content to legal aid websites across the country.
The mission of an A2J Author course is two-fold: to introduce law students to the skills required by a 21st Century law office, and to produce A2J Guided Interviews® and other technical resources that statewide legal aid organizations can use to lower the barriers to justice for low-income people.
Six law schools are participating in the second round of the course project and will be offering courses in the 2015-16 academic year: Northwestern University, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Hofstra University, Stetson University, University of Tennessee, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
This website is largely based on a model course site developed by Professor Ronald W. Staudt for use at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. Professor Staudt spent four years developing and refining this course model. During that time, his students have written A2J Guided Interviews and HotDocs templates while working with attorneys from Illinois Legal Aid Online, Idaho Legal Aid Services, Legal Aid of North Carolina, Legal Aid of Nebraska, North Penn Legal Services, and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. Click here to view the homepage as new students would see it on the first day of classes. Explore the course materials included in Professor Staudt’s course by clicking through the Assignments and Student Work tabs.
Often people ask us: “How can a student complete an entire project in one semester?” In the videos below, the students of Professor Staudt’s Fall 2012 Justice & Technology Practicum class explain the justice problem they were asked to address, discuss the process they used to create their project, and demonstrate their A2J Guided Interview.®
For more information, read the article “Access to Justice and Technology Clinics: A 4% Solution” (2013) by Ronald W. Staudt and Andrew P. Medeiros in the Justice, Lawyering and Legal Education symposium edition of the Chicago-Kent Law Review.
If you have any questions, please contact us.