IAALS Meeting Highlights Experiences of Self-Represented Litigants
Roberta Batley, Shareholder of Little, Gilman-Tepper and Batley is on the Honoring Families Initiative Advisory Committee
by Natalie Anne Knowlton
Director, Honoring Families Initiative
On August 20 and 21, Roberta Batley attended the multidisciplinary Honoring Families Initiative (HFI) Advisory Committee meeting in Denver. The meeting agenda included in-depth discussion of preliminary data collected over the last several months as part of the HFI Cases Without Counsel (CWC) project. Exploring how self-represented litigants in family court navigate and experience the legal process, CWC is currently underway in four jurisdictions—Multnomah County (OR), Larimer County (CO), Davidson County (TN), and Franklin County (MA)—and data collection is ongoing.
The Advisory Committee was joined by a handful of other guests from around the country: Bonnie Hough from the Judicial Council of California; Maureen Sheeran from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; Dan Jackson from Northeastern University School of Law’s NuLawLab, and four self-represented litigants who took part in the study and came to Denver to share their experiences in person. Without exception, each of the self-represented litigant participants commented on how grateful they were for the opportunity to have their voices heard.
Also participating in the discussion were Dr. Julie Macfarlane and Sue Rice of theNational Self-Represented Litigants Project—the Canadian research study on which Cases Without Counsel is building. At the conclusion of the two-day meeting, Dr. Macfarlane remarked:
“We are very excited to see the final results of the IAALS study and the extent to which those findings and recommendations align with our findings through the National Self-Represented Litigants Project. And, we commend IAALS for including self-represented litigants in the conversation.”
Cases Without Counsel was also the topic of conversation at a recent American Bar Association conference on the topic of client-centric legal services, co-sponsored by IAALS, the ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, and the ABA Legal Access Job Corps Task Force.
The final Cases Without Counsel study report is forthcoming in early 2016.
The IAALS is a national, independent research center dedicated to facilitating continuous improvement and advancing excellence in the American legal system.
What Our Clients Say
“Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, Value
I had a great experience at Batley Family Law. They assisted me with my case. They were excellent and ensured that my case was handled as efficiently as possible and always made me feel informed. This firm helped me through a stressful time. Would absolutely recommend this law firm.”
“Thanks for everything yesterday! I had a very informative and meaningful consultation with Batley Family Law. I can tell that they are compassionate and strong which I admire in a law firm. Their firm has written a great book on New Mexico Divorce Law and they had recommendations for books to help my kids in this process! Thanks for the great gifts as well. I look forward to working with them in the process that lies ahead.”
Bobbie Batley is unquestionably the top family lawyer in New Mexico, largely because of the amazing team she leads. This firm cares about their clients, and puts those needs out front. I will never hesitate to refer to this firm!”
“Batley Family Law is an excellent place to work. I enjoy coming in everyday. It is clear to see how much our attorneys value New Mexican families. They work their hardest to advocate for their clients on a daily basis.”
“Batley Family Law provided me with excellent advice and service to effectively and efficiently resolve an issue with my best interests in mind. They did this with a great deal of compassion. I would highly recommend this firm.”