This week marked week one of our Access Legal Beta Launch. I am happy to say it went very well and we are gaining valuable insight from our Beta Testers. At the same time, customers are getting a valuable service that they cannot find anywhere else. Who are these customers?

1. A young mother came to the firm looking for legal help. Her ex-boyfriend had filed for sole custody of her daughter and had failed to serve her. Luckily she was informed by the court of a temporary orders hearing and she appeared. There, the judge told her she had just one week to file a response. Upon talking to us, she informed us that her ex was extremely abusive to both her and her older son. She had a very limited budget and needed legal help fast. I was able to direct her to Access Legal (which happens to be down the hall). For $300, she was able to work with a certified legal document preparer who helped her use our software and create a response with all of the protections she needed and help to protect her address. She is free to come back any time to either the law firm or Access Legal for more help.

2. A man called. He and his wife have been separated for three years and are ready to file for divorce. They agree on everything and she is going to sign an acceptance of service. He’s planning to move forward via default. His options are to pay me, a lawyer, to draft his petition and all accompanying documents. This typically takes three hours or about $750, or, he can hire Access Legal for $300. He went with Access Legal. He needs Access Legal to handle running the documents to the court, paying the filing fee and to make sure that everything goes properly. He doesn’t need an attorney.

3. I was speaking with a 30 yr old hairdresser. She is just at the beginning of her divorce with minor children. She has a total budget of $10,000 and she believes her soon-to-be ex will fight her on everything. With $10,000, I cannot litigate a 9-12 month divorce. It typically takes a minimum of $20,000 to litigate a whole divorce without a settlement. I told her about Access Legal. She decided to have Access Legal draft her documents and save her budget to hire me for in court representation.

It has only been one week, but the launch of Access Legal is a four year dream come true for me. Everyone here at Modern Law is dedicated to increasing access to justice and bringing down the cost of legal services. By using technology and legal document preparers, we are increasing efficiency! It may seem counter-intuitive to turn clients away, but we want people to have options. I would much rather represent client #3 in her divorce trial instead of being forced to withdraw because she has run out of money after we have completed discovery.

The Beta Launch means that every Access Legal customer is working with a certified legal document preparer while utilizing the software. We want it to be perfect! Please let us know if you have questions or comments.