Last year, we wrote this post to shine the spotlight on some solid tech resources that help increase access to justice. “We spend a lot of time looking at what’s not working,” we reasoned, so shouldn’t we also take a minute to talk about all the things that do? Granted, six apps wasn’t a lot, but it was a start and since that writing, we’ve been on the hunt to find more. Surely, our list was just a small sample, right? There had to be more tools out there and we were going to find them.
It turns out we were right. There are currently more than 150 active apps and websites across the country, all designed to help you get the justice you seek and, as you might imagine, we were pretty darned excited. That’s a lot of resources! The only thing missing was a way to get those apps and websites in front of the people that needed them. So, we created it. And we’re pretty darned excited about that too!
The BIG List of Legal Tools is available for (free!) download here. It includes all the tools we’ve found – all 150+, and we’ve sorted them by state to make your search a little easier. This post highlights ten we thought were especially awesome but of course, we encourage you to check out the BIG list in its entirety and see for yourself.
And be sure to share it. These tools can’t help if the people that need them if they don’t know they exist.
A quick disclaimer: We think these tools sound amazing, but we haven’t tried all of them, so we can’t speak to their effectiveness. As such, this article in no way endorses any of the services listed here or the organizations that built them and we’re not affiliated with any tool except those specifically built by FJTC.
You got a traffic ticket, now what do you do? Do you want to fight it? Is it easier to just pay the fine and take the points? Well, ponder no more because BernieSez can connect you with an attorney who can tell you exactly what to do.
In fact, BernieSez will connect you with several attorneys who will bid on your case. What’s not to love about attorneys fighting over you? So, next time you see those flashing blue lights in the rearview mirror, you can sigh a breath of relief knowing that BernieSez is there to help.
There are lots of reasons you may want to change your name. Maybe you’re a husband taking your wife’s surname (how progressive!); or perhaps you’re a woman reverting back to your maiden name after a divorce; or you’re a transgender individual looking to change your name and gender marker to match your true identity. Whatever the reason, if you’re in Florida you can use this handy tool to fill out your paperwork and make your new identity official.
Ever had to review a contract, but had no idea what you were looking at? Well, there’s a Microsoft Word add-in that can help you. Contract Tools analyzes your document for things that often appear in contracts: provisions, defined terms, cross-references, and more. Analysis takes about two seconds or less for most contracts, and as you make changes, Contract Tools updates its analysis instantly. All of this happens right on your PC or Mac, not on some server somewhere – so when you use Contract Tools, your documents stay yours. The contract doesn’t even need to be in Word format; Contract Tools can analyze PDFs you open in Word or text you paste into Word. So, next time you sign a credit agreement you may want to run it through Contract Tools first so you can cut right to the important sections.
If all the uploading and downloading with Contract Tools is too much for you, you can always use ToS;DR. The name ToS;DR was inspired by the internet acronym TL;DR which stands for “Too Long; Didn’t Read” and is often used on blogs and emails when a block of text is really long prompting most people to skim or just skip over the content. If that detailed email from your colleague is too long to read, then terms of service are definitely too long for your attention span. But I’m sure that didn’t stop you from agreeing to the statement “I have read and agree to the terms.” Fortunately, you can download ToS; DR as a browser add-on or just search their site for ratings on website terms and privacy policies for online companies like Google, Trello, YouTube, etc. Start protecting your online rights by understanding what you’re agreeing to.
So you have to go to court. Do you have an attorney? Probably not. Should you have an attorney? You probably should. How do you find an attorney to help with your case within your price range? What if you only want to use an attorney for certain elements of your case? Well, CourtBuddy has thought all of this through for you.
Discriminatory screening and pat downs at airport checkpoints are extremely stressful and anxiety-inducing for all Americans. If you happen to have a beard or have a hint of middle eastern heritage, you are much more likely to experience discriminatory profiling. The Sikh Coalition recognized that their members were consistently mistreated by airport security, so they created an app to track and report TSA screening discrimination and abuse. But we can all benefit from holding TSA and DHS accountable for their treatment of law-abiding Americans who are simply trying to travel freely across the country and around the world. Freedom of movement is essential to American democracy and this app will help protect our right to travel.
If you don’t want to find a lawyer with CourtBuddy, or if you found a lawyer but want to do some of your own research, check out LegalYou. It delivers educational resources on legal topics through illustrations, animated videos, games, and quizzes. Topics range from case law to suing for a dog bite. The content is easy to follow with an entertaining slant. If you need a little more, you can pay to have a lawyer on-demand. This website is fun for all ages.
With modern technology, you no longer need to see a notary in person. Any documents that need to be notarized can be done so online. This is especially helpful if you live in a rural area or a region with limited notaries. Victims of domestic violence will surely benefit from using an online notary to file injunctions for protection so they don’t have to risk their safety while trying to seek protection.
Should you file for bankruptcy? Upsolve can help you make that decision and guide you through filing if it’s in your favor. Over a million Americans file for bankruptcy each year. If this is the best financial option for you, at least you know you can file online for free thanks to Upsolve.
We know, another Florida-only app. What can we say? We may be a little biased toward our home state. If you find yourself in Florida and you’re trying to navigate the court system, Florida Courts Help is a good place to start. You can find information about local self-help centers, free and low-cost legal aid, and family law forms.