Over the past few years, the NYS court system has been working to build Internet-based document assembly programs using available technology specifically designed to address the barriers to justice that litigants face when they create their court papers. A document assembly program asks the user questions, and then takes the answers and assembles completed personalized court papers. Technology’s exponential growth, its enhanced accessibility, and its decreasing costs make document assembly programs an ideal mechanism for serving the unrepresented public.The NYS court system has been extremely successful with its programs, known as DIY (Do-ItYourself) Forms, which create court papers and instructions for unrepresented litigants employing A2J Author and HotDocs software. A2J Author software was specially designed to make Internet-based document assembly of court forms more widely accessible to unrepresented litigants. In 2012, twenty-five percent of the court forms generated by litigants using A2J Author programs were attributable to NYS court system’s document assembly programs.

By: Rochelle Klempner: Chief Counsel, New York State Courts Access to Justice Program.