LawHelp Interactive (LHI) is a national online document assembly platform that allows people representing themselves to prepare their own legal documents and pleadings online for free.
LHI is also used by legal aid advocates, pro bono attorneys, and court systems seeking to work more efficiently and develop new approaches to services delivery.
LHI's National Impact
LawHelp Interactive is used in 47 states, territories and provinces. In the last ten years, over 5.1 Million free legal documents have been generated through LHI. In 2020 alone, LHI served 1,069,826 interviews resulting in 710,378 assemblies. These forms represent many legal problems: child support and custody, domestic violence, debt collection, foreclosures, evictions, divorce, and more.
LHI is Driving Innovation
LHI is the national backbone of local innovation to close the justice gap.
- Increasing opportunities for those without an attorney to achieve justice by allowing litigants to create their own complete, high quality legal documents and pleadings for free.
- Enabling volunteer attorneys to assist litigants in areas of practice that may be new or less familiar to them.
- Promoting innovative models of pro bono and unbundled assistance.
- Driving innovation in e-courts through e-filing and CRM integrations.
- Powering in person and remote self-help services.
- Supporting access collaborations with libraries and community organizations.
- Enabling remote legal assistance through LHI Connect, a workflow tool for remote document review.
- Making the creation and sharing of online forms faster, easier, and more cost effective.
Impact in 2020
LawHelp Interactive conducted more than 1 million interview sessions in 2020 for self represented litigants grappling with child support and custody, domestic violence, debt collection, foreclosures, evictions, divorce and more. In the face of widespread court and legal aid agency closures, more than 700,000 legal forms were assembled using LHI - the highest volume in our history. Throughout 2020, LHI helped more than 50,000 domestic violence survivors - about 1,000 survivors a week - complete orders for protection across the US. Usage of LHI forms in Washington, DC increased more than 300% since the start of the pandemic driven by efforts by courts and community advocates to help domestic violence survivors remotely complete court forms to help ensure their safety and protection. In New York State, the Family Offense Petition Program successfully filed more than 9,300 domestic violence petitions across the state in 2020, the highest in the program's history. These landmark metrics reflect the importance of LHI forms in order to increase access to justice.
How LHI Works
LHI Interviews and templates are created by subject matter experts at legal aid programs, courts and other access to just partners. Interviews are developed using HotDocs® from AbacusNext and optionally, A2J Author® from the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI). When finished, templates are uploaded to the national LawHelp Interactive server and made available to advocates and the public, through statewide legal aid and court.
LHI currently hosts more than 5,000 interviews, and the LHI website is available in five languages. Users can optionally create an account to save their forms online and work on them again later. LHI Connect allows pro bono programs to assign client-centered documents to volunteer attorneys to assist in reviewing and completing LHI-powered forms.
Legal aid organizations and courts can benefit from LHI's robust and proven cloud architecture and focus their attention and resources on the delivery of services and assistance. Pro Bono Net manages the state-of-the-art technical infrastructure for the LHI platform and works with local groups to successfully develop LHI-powered forms and projects that enable a more efficient and user-friendly document creation experience.
Who is Behind LHI?
LHI is a program of Pro Bono Net, a nonprofit leader in deploying technology and collaboration to increase access to justice, operated in partnership with Ohio State Legal Services Association. LHI is supported by the Legal Services Corporation's Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) program, among other funders, as well as significant software donations from AbacusNext.
Through trainings, technical assistance and community networking, Pro Bono Net's LHI team help local programs develop interactive forms and effectively integrate them with services to help hundreds of thousands of people each year prevent or address legal problems.
Visit probono.net/programs to learn more about LawHelp Interactive and other Pro Bono Net initiatives. Or contact: Claudia Johnson, LHI Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.