an early Valentine to


 HeartArrowGThis is a good time of year to let people who make your life fuller or easier know that their efforts are appreciated.  Although I’m not exactly a secret admirer of, I often take the website and the folks behind it for granted — forgetting to tell them and you how helpful their services and information are for the self-help legal community. is funded by the State Justice Institute and describes itself as a “Network for Practitioners of Self-Help Programs as well as an online Clearinghouse of information relating to self-representation.”   I check out the SHS home page daily to look for new Announcements or Releases by the Network, and to see what’s new in their Library or what they have found in the news media that I’ve missed. 

This past week, I discovered:

  • A link to Montana House Bill 60: “Access to Justice Civil Act, Self-Help Program”, which was introduced by J. Parker and would provide for “state-level, self-help legal resources, tools, information, and training materials on a statewide basis in a cost-effective manner emphasizing technology and volunteer services.”  If passed, the law would fulfill  the self-help goals of the State’s Chief Justice, discussed by Orijit Ghosal in this post last month.  A hearing on the Bill was held on Feb. 7, 2007.
  • A Small Claims Court Self Help Video–from the 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Florida.
  • 20 TIG Conference presentations (made to the annual LSC Technology Initiative Grants Conference, Feb. 2007) — on topics such as evaluating statewide websites and non-web projects, online community building, innovative case management systems, hot docs service delivery, thwarting cyber piracy, Live Help programs, etc.

HeartArrowN  If you’re an active self-help law practitioner, you are surely already a member of the Self-Help Support Network — or have no excuse not to join right now.   I’d like to urge other readers who have a professional, organizational or academic interest in assisting self-represented litigants to join — especially, those who would like to become active in their local courts, community or school, by starting, lobbying for, or volunteering to help, a self-help center or project.  Membership is free and brings with it access to the voluminous information in the SHS Library, the services offered through the site, and the nearly 2000 network members.  

For example, if you were a member, you could take advantage of:

  • the SHS Networking/Mentoring Service, which connects you with assistance from self-help programs around the country, by finding “the right person to help you think through and get ideas for how to launch or improve your self help program.”
    (see our prior post)
  • their February webinar, A Guide to, where you can “Learn about the many programs, services, and resources offered by” It is on Feb. 22, 2007 from 3-4pm (Eastern). Madelynn Herman will be presenting.
  • the materials from the January Webinar on Self Help in Rural/Small Court Settings–with Frances Thompson, Eleanor Gerlott, and Mary Boudreau.

Note: The site is for the self-help practictioner or advocate, and is not geared to the individual pro se litigant.   If you are a person who needs legal help or pro se assistance, or wants to find an attorney, you should consult the extensive materials described on the SHS webpage Resources for Self-Represented Litigants, or visit to find legal resources in the state in which you live.  (Of course, your friendly shlep weblog is here for you, too.)

embraceRS I’m not going to get gushy about  I do want to thank all the people and groups that make it possible and keep it timely.  Consider yourselves hugged.

1 Comment

  1. Madelynn

    February 14, 2007 @ 3:43 pm


    Many thanks David for your kind words. It is truly a pleasure to be part of such a successful project. It is successful due to the many others that contribute to the project’s programs and services. I receive and find content from a variety of sources for–including from you and SHLEP and am very appreciative. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your followers!!

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