Online self-help center would level legal playing field

By developing an online self-help center, Massachusetts has the opportunity to make our civil courts fairer for people forced to represent themselves.

Op-Ed (Massachusetts)

Jake Hofstetter
October 8, 2019

Tags: Pro Se/Self-Help

Organizations mentioned/involved: Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice


The result is a civil court system that tips the scales of justice towards wealth and privilege. In that system, landlords evict law-abiding tenants, debt collectors exploit consumers, and the government unfairly denies benefits to young veterans – not because of the merits of cases but because one side has the money to hire a lawyer and one does not.

Even if we can’t provide everyone with a lawyer who needs one, there are new tools that, thanks to technology and widespread access to the Internet, can give court users a fairer shot at arguing and winning their cases.

A new report from the Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice shows how Massachusetts can take a big step towards a more level playing field in court for everyone by establishing a comprehensive self-help website for those representing themselves in civil court.