Hello everyone! Welcome to my first blog post! I will be assigned several blog challenges through the Access to Justice Tech Fellows Program and this blog post is a general overview of my host organization and the project I am working on this summer!
A2J Tech is a social enterprise that creates technology solutions to improve access to justice. From its main office in Denver, Colorado, its team collaborates with law schools, state programs, private firms, and Legal Aid organizations from Florida, Texas, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, California, and of course, Colorado. One of its main goals is to create a variety of self-help services to empower self-represented litigants with the confidence to represent themselves.
With the rise in divorce rates in China due to quarantine, we can expect a similar trend to occur in the United States. In fact, a divorce lawyer in Shanghai reported that his caseload “increased by 25% since the city’s lockdown eased in mid-March.” With the legal expenses for divorce ranging from $1,000 to up to $200,000, the A2J team wants be prepared for low income people, who cannot afford such high legal fees, to be able to file for a divorce. Although these people may seek legal organizations to help file a petition, there are people who do not meet the income threshold to be a client or are turned away due to a lack of resources for the organization to take in more clients. Many people may turn to filling out the petition by themselves and may find it daunting due to the number of forms to fill out and may be confused about where to start. That is where my document automation project comes in!
The project I am working on is the Colorado Divorce Project. The same way TurboTax has simplified filing your own taxes, we seek to create a simplified questionnaire to help people who want to file for a divorce without the attorney price tag. To do this, I am creating a questionnaire to take in the client’s information and the interview will input that information onto the relevant divorce forms through a “no code” coding platform called Documate. I just finished the first few forms needed to file a petition for a divorce! They are currently in the testing phase. However, I am not done yet! With how extensive the divorce process is, there are many more forms to automate, and hopefully, I am able to finish this project before my fellowship is over!