Legal Tasks for AI in the Access to Justice Domain

What are the specific things that generative AI might do, that could help improve access to justice & good life outcomes for people going through a problem with housing, debt, family, traffic, or other legal-related areas?

On this page, our team is compiling the specific Legal Tasks for which generative AI (or other human or technology services) could improve the system & people’s outcomes. We have compiled these Tasks by synthesizing the discussions in a series of roundtables and workshops we ran last year with practitioners, academics, policy-makers, and technologists.

Why this Task List? Our goal with this list is to go beyond a general discussion about whether AI can or cannot improve access to justice. By focusing on specific, discrete Tasks, we hope to encourage more model development, rigorous technical evaluation, and human-centered research with end-users, frontline service providers, and big-picture policymakers. We may find that AI may perform quite well on one task that can increase access to justice, but fail on others.

Tasks Organized into Zones: We have separated the tasks into different zones, based on what phase of a person’s legal journey they occur in. Sometimes the zones also correspond to the role of the person who currently has to perform this task.

Orientation & Guides Tasks

This set of tasks concerns people who are at the start of their legal problem-solving journey. At this stage, they may not even be aware that their housing, family, money, or work problem is ‘legal’ or ‘justiciable’. This set of tasks focuses on helping the person understand their situation, options, and help services.

Answering Questions

This task involves legal Questions and Answers. Typically this happens at the beginning stages of a legal problem. The person experiencing the problem, or their friend or family member, is seeking out information. What is this problem called? What options do I have? Who can help me? What are my next steps?

Currently, this task occurs in person in informal conversations, on search engines, in pro bono clinics, in waiting rooms or lobbies of courts or legal aid groups, or on social media sites. People’s goals are to get reliable, clear information that is actionable for them to take the next step (or to know that they don’t want to pursue a legal path for this problem).

Service Referrals

The Service Referrals task often happens in the beginning stages of a legal problem, though it can also happen when it has reached a crisis stage. It might be the person going through the problem, or a service provider like a social worker, teacher, librarian, food pantry worker, or domestic violence counselor who is looking to find help services for this person.

The goal of this task is to present a curated, short menu of service options for this person. What are the full-service, unbundled services, and DIY services that the person could use to address this problem? Which of these are a good fit for the person’s scenario, eligibility, and capability?

Ideally, a tool can give them a very short, staged list of what services would be a good fit — and help them easily connect to this tool or group to get started on dealing with the problem.

Guide Redesign

This task covers the work of service providers like law help website authors, legal aid groups’ outreach teams, or public legal education groups inside courts, agencies, or legal aid organizations. These groups aim to provide clear, engaging guides to people who are experiencing legal problems. They provide these on website pages, fliers, pamphlets, videos, presentations, and training sessions.

Ideally, a tool could help these content authors to create guides that are more accessible, actionable, and engaging — including for different audiences. The tool could assist the guide authors to create more guides more efficiently and to redesign their existing ones to be more impactful.

Translating Guides

Those same service providers who are creating guides must also take on the task of making them available in multiple languages, as needed for their region. This task would help the service providers’ content authors to translate and review the guides in multiple languages.

The ideal tool would help them convert their well-designed, plain language English guides into Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, Korean, Farsi, Vietnamese, French, Portuguese, and more.

This zone of Legal Paperwork Tasks concerns the main work product that is involved in resolving most legal problems: creating forms, letters, briefs, or other sets of legal paperwork. These tasks include both the rote provision of information into structured form fields, and the more complicated tasks of presenting strategic, carefully-thought-through arguments, citations, requests, and narratives.

Court Forms

The Court Forms task covers the work that is being done by both service providers’ form authors & the end-users (litigants and the navigators and advocates who assist them). It entails both creating form tools that are easier to understand and fill in. It also entails helping the litigant (or their service provider) to elicit the correct details that the form requires, in a clear and comprehensive presentation.

The tool ideally will make it more likely that a person can correctly, fully fill in a court form, and that they are able to represent their situation, narrative, and claims in a format that will serve their case well.

Demand Letter

Aside from court forms, there are other legal paperwork product tasks. In some cases, before litigation has begun, a person in a conflict may want to write an official Demand Letter in order to ask for another person/organization to comply with the law.

A tool could assist a person or their service provider (like a law student clinician or a pro bono volunteer) draft a Demand Letter that correctly cites the law, accurately describes the person’s scenario and demands, and persuades the recipient to make the changes necessary (like improving living conditions or providing a reasonable accommodation for a disability).

Document Check

For any legal paperwork task, the Document Check task helps the person or the service provider to ensure that the paperwork they’ve drafted is accurate, succinct, and comprehensive.

This could include spelling and grammar checks, but also looks for common red flags or missing information that is specific for the particular form, contract, letter, agreement, or other specific kind of legal paperwork.

Ideally, the tool that can do this would prevent errors and rejections in the short term, and bad terms or ill-informed decisions in the long term.

Service Provision Tasks

This Service Provision set of tasks focuses on getting work done, between service providers (like legal aid lawyers, court staff members, paralegals, or other providers) and the person with the legal problem. These tasks are about synthesizing the details of their case, preparing for a trial or negotiation, assembling evidence, deciding on strategies, and getting legal paperwork or work product done. It also entails the needs of service providers, as they manage and oversee these cases.

The Legal Research task may be done by a service provider or a litigant. This occurs as they are midstream in the problem, as it has turned either into a court case or a pre-litigation case. The goal of the legal research is to find what law applies to the person’s specific scenario, and what precedents may support the person’s claims vis-a-vis the other party.

Ideally, a tool will help the provider or litigant to easily find past cases that match this person’s scenario, and identify laws and cases that provide possible citations for making arguments in favor of the person’s claims.

Even more, the tool could possibly help the provider and litigant understand the future prospects of their claims. How strong are these claims, and how likely are they to prevail in a given jurisdiction or in front of a particular judge?

Case Summaries

This back-end task of Case Summaries directly serves the service providers who are providing frontline services to a person with a legal problem, and the supervisors who are managing them. The tool could summarize the frontline provider’s case notes and other data known about the person in the court case record or intake system. It can then provide a quick, efficient summary of the case, and also highlight any anomalies or flags that a manager might need to address.

The client may also receive a Case Summary, to help them understand their case. After leaving a clinic, hotline, or consultation meeting with the provider, the client could receive a copy of their own Case Summary so that they can better understand their situation and legal options, written down in a clear and accessible format for their own understanding and for their record.

Coaching & Support

The Coaching & Support task concerns how a provider can stay in touch with a client, especially after they have a one-off or limited service interaction with this person.

A possible tool could help them follow-up with the person after their service meeting, to encourage them to take next steps. This could be gathering evidence, filing paperwork, sending letters, attending appointments or hearings, or other steps.

Oftentimes, this task does not occur right now because of lack of capacity or technical setup. Ideally, a tool could help organize the data and send out customized coaching and follow-up messages that assist the person in making progress with their case, with minimal time commitments from overworked staff.

Court Management Tasks

This zone of legal tasks concerns the court system. Of those legal problems that become court cases, these tasks concern how they are received, screened, processed, and triaged. These tasks currently are performed by staff members, like court filing clerks and judicial clerks.

Complaint Screening

The Complaint Screening task primarily falls to court clerks right now. As a person or organization files a lawsuit, the complaint paperwork arrives at the court clerk’s inbox or desk. The clerk is responsible for assessing this complaint document, to see if it meets the procedural (and perhaps semi-substantive) requirements to be accepted as a court case, that this court will consider.

A tool could help the clerk to screen these Complaint files to see if they are fully in compliance with the court’s requirements. This might be particularly necessary as robo-filing leads to a growing number of complaints filed (including those filed through automated, bulk systems).

Procedure Triage

In this task, court officials have received many court cases in a given topic area. Their Procedure Triage task would involve assessing what kind of procedural track would be a good fit for this particular case.

For example, should this case be put on an expedited track, or a slower and more intensive one? Or, for a family conflict, what kind of dispute resolution track should this case be on: mediation with a third party, negotiation between the parties directly, or high-conflict adversarial with heavy involvement from court staff and judges? Or, for a landlord-tenant conflict, should this be sent to an eviction diversion program or to a housing court hearing?

The triage tracks may differ depending on case type and jurisdiction, but the tool ideally would screen and predict which cases would best fit which of the available procedural or service tracks.

Negotiation Tasks

Negotiation Simulation

In this Negotiation Simulation task, a person is in the middle of a conflict. They are thinking about possibly pursuing a negotiation (one-on-one) or mediation (assistance of a third party) with the other party in the conflict.

The Simulation task helps them to experience a negotiation process, and see how their claims and goals would fare in a negotiation. It can help them see how a back-and-forth might play out, what will be required of them (in terms of presenting information, what tone to use, sharing evidence, citing laws or precedents, or compromising on some positions).

The Simulation ideally will help a person understand if a negotiation is a good fit for them, and how best to be prepared for an upcoming negotiation. It can also help them modify their tone, claims, and goals to be more likely to reach a mutually agreeable solution.


The Mediation task concerns a live back-and-forth conversation between two parties in conflict. Ideally, a tool could either be the third-party mediator, or assist a human mediator. It would help the two sides communicate with each other more effectively, including by helping them clearly present their stories, claims, and goals — and by moderating their tone to be more respectful.

The tool could help also identify common ground and opportunities to find a resolution that can work with both sides.

Settlement Review

The Settlement Review task focuses on the stage of a conflict, where a person has received a possible settlement agreement, stipulation, or other contract from the person or organization they have been in conflict with.

The person needs to understand exactly what terms are inside this proposed agreement. Are there any red flags, of terms that might put burdensome or problematic obligations onto the person? Or are there any key provisions that are missing, without which the person might be losing important protections or giving up claims or rights that they have?

Ideally, a tool can make sure a person knows what they are signing, that they are aware if it deviates from normal terms, that they can strategically reply to this offered agreement with counter-terms or negotiations, and that they don’t sign something that they are not prepared to live with.