Online Workshop

Assisting Self-Represented Litigants via Online Sources and Video Materials

Thursday, October 3, 2019
1:30 – 2:30 PM EST


Overview of Workshop

Courts across the nation are coping with the unique challenges and opportunities presented by self-represented litigants. New technology and online tools can provide these litigants with information and resources to help them navigate the American judicial system without the assistance of counsel. Please join us for a discussion of some available court-provided internet-based options during our next online workshop, Assisting Self-Represented Litigants via Online Resources and Video Materials. We invite you to participate and send us examples of materials that your courts use. CLCT Director Fred Lederer will moderate the workshop. Danielle Hirsch, Principal Court Management Consultant for the National Center for State Courts, and John Wilson, Multimedia Communications Coordinator for Ventura County Superior Court in California, will join us.


Register for this workshop by e-mailing Mary Beth Poma at or by calling her at 757-221-2228. Please register by Monday September 30, 2019.

Workshop Moderator

Fred Lederer, Chancellor Professor of Law and Director of CLCT, William & Mary Law School

To learn more about Fred, please find his biography here.

Guest Speakers

Danielle Hirsch, Principal Court Management Consultant, National Center for State Courts, with an emphasis on access to justice programs.

Danielle brings a broad range of relevant professional experiences to her work at the National Center for State Courts. Immediately prior to joining NCSC, Danielle served as the Assistant Director of the Civil Justice Division of the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts. In this role, Danielle was responsible for leading and managing the judicial branch’s work to promote, facilitate, and enhance access to justice in Illinois, with a particular emphasis on efforts to remove barriers and increase the ease of interacting with courts by persons who cannot afford lawyers to represent their interests and needs. She was also the Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access and before that, the Director of Advocacy at The Chicago Bar Foundation. Among many highlights of her work, Danielle developed and managed an innovative new program, Illinois JusticeCorps, which places college and law students in courthouses to provide procedural assistance to people without lawyers. Danielle has authored numerous articles in law reviews, bar journals and other publications and frequently is called upon to speak at legal, academic and nonprofit meetings and events.

At the beginning of her career, Danielle clerked for the Honorable William Wayne Justice of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas and Justice ZM Yacoob of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. She was also an associate with the K&L Gates law firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for several years. Danielle has taught at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, the University of Illinois College of Law, and John Marshall Law School.

John A. Wilson, Multimedia Communications Coordinator for Ventura County Superior Court, County of Ventura, California.

John specializes in a variety of legal technologies, including audio and video systems design and engineering, computer systems administration and engineering, media as relates to court evidence presentation, and audio and video editing for in-house work and social media platforms. John is a member of the Communications Committee for the California Court

Association and has worked with the Ventura County Superior Court for thirteen years, focusing on integrating modern technology into its courtrooms. He is responsible for a variety of the Court’s technological achievements:

  • He designed and built the Court’s first mental health video conference system to communicate with the California Department of State Hospitals.
  • He created and produced an on-demand intranet-based training system for internal Court staff.
  • He created the Court’s first online media library using the Granicus platform and won the Granicus Digital Governance Award for Innovation.
  • He created and currently supports the Court’s YouTube channel.
  • He was selected as a local project manager for Ventura County’s implementation of the 2013 California Judicial Council Video Remote Interpreters (VRI) Pilot Program. Ventura County was one of three counties in the state to be selected as part of the initiative.
  • He redesigned and updated all of Ventura County Superior Court’s courtroom evidence presentation systems, designed and added complementary jury deliberation evidence systems to the Court’s assets, and upgraded the Court’s courtroom audio systems from analog to digital formatting.
  • In partnership with Al Martinez, Ventura Court Family Law Managing Attorney, he created and implemented the Ventura Family Self-Help Video Workshops with technology grant assistance from the California Judicial Council.

John continually researches cutting-edge multimedia technologies with an eye toward improving court efficiency, savings, and constituent experience. With his contributions, the Ventura County Superior Court currently supports 60+ remote hearings per year, with an estimated annual cost savings to the Court and its Ventura County partners of approximately $480,000. He holds a degree in Electronics Engineering from El Camino College and computer certifications from Microsoft and CompTIA.

Pro Se Litigant Literature

There is a vast amount of literature dealing with problems of Pro Se Litigants.  The following two items will likely be discussed in this workshop:

Court Uses RAP to Improve Divorce Cases for Self-Represented Litigants

By Danielle Hirsch
National Center for State Courts

Ventura Superior Court YouTube Channel

You may also wish to read the following:

The National Center for State Court – Self Representation Resource Guide

The Disappearance of Rural Lawyers (Part I)

Part I of this series addresses a growing problem faced by rural communities: a lack of access to professional legal help. This article describes the disappearance of small, rural law practices and explains how it has contributed to the rise in pro se litigation. State and local efforts in these areas have attempted to provide alternative resources, often through the use of new technologies.  Read More

Filling the Justice Gap for Unrepresented Litigants (Part II)

In addition to rural citizens, low-income individuals are likely to end up as pro se litigants, as they are unable to afford the cost of legal services. As this article explains, this trend can have devastating effects—such as in housing disputes—and create a “justice gap” for pro se litigants. Part II also expands upon how technological solutions can lower the cost of legal services, empower self-represented litigants, and improve access to justice.  Read More

Pro Se, Legal Monopoly, and AI’s Impact (Part III)

The third and final installment in this series analyzes how the technological innovations discussed throughout the series may fundamentally alter the legal services market. It explores how the legal economic market is currently responding to the rise of mobile legal apps and the corresponding growth of pro se litigation.  Read More

Disclosure:  By registering for this workshop, you consent to the recording of audio and video from this workshop and to publication of that recording on the Center for Legal & Court Technology’s password-protected Court Affiliates website.