Saturday, April 26, 2008

ABA Hearings: Review of Self-Help Legal Services

Event Announcement

The ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services will hold a series of hearings on the use of technology to provide personal, civil legal services over the Internet and the policies that govern that use. Specifically, the Committee expects to examine:

  • The range of providers who are using technology to provide legal services through the Internet and the scope of those services. The Committee’s initial observations indicate that corporations, state courts and governmental entities are using the Internet to provide document preparation and collateral legal services more commonly than practitioners who provide personal, civil legal services;
  • The benefits and detriments that have resulted from the use of technology to provide legal services over the Internet. The Committee is interested in feedback from various legal service providers and other interested entities, as well as documentation from any entities about harms that have resulted from the use of technology to provide legal services;
  • Emerging trends and possible future directions of technology providing legal services via the Internet; and
  • The policies and authorities (rules, statutes, case law, ethics opinions, etc.) that have emerged to govern the use of technology for the delivery of legal services and whether those policies are consistent with the need to balance consumer protection with access to affordable legal services and justice.
The Committee anticipates that the input from the hearings will provide guidance to assess whether policies need to be amended or promulgated that will maximize the use of technology in ways that enable practitioners to provide efficient, affordable and responsible legal services as set forth in the ABA's Strategic Plan.

The hearings will be held as follows:
  • May 9, 2008, Noon to 3:00 PM, in conjunction with the Equal Justice Conference, Hilton Minneapolis, 1001 Marquette Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55403;
  • Friday, August 8, 2008, hotel TBD, in conjunction with the ABA Annual Meeting in New York.
  • Virtual Hearing, Date to be announced.
Those who would like to testify should contact Janice Jones, by phone at 312/988-5787, or by email. Anyone unable to appear at a hearing may submit written materials to the Committee, sending them to Janice Jones, ABA, 321 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60610. Testimony and written submissions will be available online throughout the hearing process.

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