A2J Author® is a software tool that delivers greater access to justice for self-represented litigants by enabling non-technical authors from the courts, clerk's offices, legal services programs, and website editors to rapidly build and implement customer friendly web-based interfaces for document assembly.
The A2J Guided Interviews® created with A2J Author® remove many of the barriers faced by self-represented litigants, allowing them to easily complete and print court documents that are ready to be filed with the court system. The following graphic is an example of an A2J Guided Interview®.
The Access to Justice: Meeting the Needs of Self-Represented Litigants: A Consumer Based Approach project (Meeting the Needs Project) successfully identified the major barriers to access to justice for self-represented litigants including barriers to Web-based document preparation. A key insight was that users need to be guided through processes that are foreign to them. The simple act of filling out forms raises unique challenges that the many self-represented litigants have trouble overcoming. Without a very simple front end, a user unfamiliar with web conventions would be unable to use online form systems. To be effective, guided interviews for self-represented litigants must be very simple.
The A2J Author® tool moves the prototypes and discoveries of the Meeting the Needs Project into production. The Meeting the Needs Project translated several of the conceptual models for a redesigned court system into a Web-based interface that gently leads unsophisticated users through a guided interview for determining eligibility and collects all the information needed to prepare the required court forms. Elegant, simple and powerfully effective, the A2J Author® Web-based interface is the "front end" needed to make court document assembly more widely accessible to self-represented litigants.
The A2J Authoring System® includes a desktop authoring tool (A2J Author®) and a Web-based player (A2J Player) that combine to enable rapid construction of customer friendly interfaces for Web-based guided document assembly modules at very low cost.
A2J is supported by grants from Chicago-Kent College of Law, State Justice Institute (SJI grant number SJI-04-N-121), Center for Access to the Courts through Technology, Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI), and Legal Services Corporation (LSC).
Examples of A2J Guided Interviews® created with A2J Author®
Examples of A2J Guided Interviews® are available through the Law Help Interactive Server and can be accessed below. Please be aware that the interviews require the Adobe Flash 8 standard plug-in to run on an internet browser.
More detailed information is available through www.a2jauthor.org.
A2J Author® is available for free to interested courts, legal service organizations, and members of the HotDocs development community for non-commercial use.
To learn more about A2J Author®, contact:
Jessica Bolack Frank
Center for Access to Justice & Technology
Chicago-Kent College of Law
565 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661