The Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) launched a server-based application enabling low-income clients to apply for free legal services.
LASOC lacked staff and resources to properly provide a high level of timely legal services to a large community.
ActivePDF’s Toolkit simplifies LASOC’s legal application and interview process in multiple languages.
Clients log into the user-friendly application anytime and anywhere, enabling them to solve many of their legal problems on their own, lessening the workload of the LASOC staff.
The Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) provides free civil legal services to low-income families, individuals, and senior citizens in Orange and Southeast Los Angeles Counties.
All legal and tax documents are facilitated through a server-based application. The application prompts an online interview process, which then creates custom PDF documents for pleadings and other legal filings.
Because of a lack of manpower, LASOC was always faced with the challenge of providing high-level legal services to a large community in a timely manner. There were simply far more people in need than there were lawyers and support personnel to serve them. This resulted in many cases not receiving the attention as quickly as needed.
LASOC launched a technology program intended to not only provide enhanced legal services to people of modest means, but also to empower the community to overcome the “digital divide.” The goal was to provide the local community with access to user-friendly technology that would give them the ability to solve any number of legal problems on their own.
The LASOC needed to come up with software that guided users through the interview applications and online forms in multiple languages. It was also important that the solution was server-based to gain maximum exposure and add to the ease of use.
To address the challenge, LASOC IT Manager, A.J. Tavares, created a software app that prompts users through a programmed interview process in three languages – English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
The application guides users through a question-and-answer process which inputs their numerical data and text responses to a server-based program. From there, a customized set of PDF legal forms and instructions are created.
To achieve this, LASOC implemented Toolkit by ActivePDF. This resulted in a browser-based solution enabling users to view, create, form fill, edit, save, and download the proper PDF forms anytime and anywhere.
This solution worked so well that LASOC created a separate corporation called LegalGenie Inc., to offer the applications for use by justice systems throughout the country. Users can now respond to legal needs according to state requirements, all from their personal computers.
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“Thanks to Toolkit, these applications are now used in the states of Virginia, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Georgia, and North Carolina,” says Tavares. “All those states are using this technology to prepare forms for legal services in their jurisdictions. They pay us to build, deliver, and host the service. Their users link to our servers via the internet.”
Through this expansion of its legal and tax services, LASOC is able to make more efficient use of its legal counsel and support staff, enabling them to offer more services to the general public.
“We realized that there was still a gap, in that the public often needs the review of a legal professional prior to submitting documents to a court,” explains Tavares. “Toolkit is critical to this enhancement because it means clients don’t have to install standalone PDF creation software or readers on their computers. They simply open the documents in a browser window. That also allows them to view the documents they’ve created prior to paying for the review and conferencing services.”
With this application in place, LASOC helps people solve their own legal problems. All the LASOC legal staff needs to do is review the PDF files. Also, since the application is server-based, system management and maintenance are much simpler for the LASOC team to handle.
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