In this week’s Law Times, Robert Todd interviewed Toronto family law lawyer Robert Berman about his website, MyOntarioDivorce.com. The website helps self-represented litigants in divorce matters (of which there are many) obtain low-cost and automatically-generated court forms for divorce cases.
Berman came up with the idea about a year and a half ago while observing how self-represented litigants who couldn’t afford lawyers were being treated in court by judges and court staff. He envisioned a free website full of information and links to help every day people get help about the divorce process and relevant family law legislation.
After hiring a computer programmer and spending over $100,000, the website officially launched in mid-february this year. The response has been “overwhelming” according to Bermann. The website allows individuals to pay anywhere from $100 to $850 / month to fill out an online questionaire and generate court-forms (e.g. motions, reply, conference briefs, etc.). According to Berman, the same service from a lawyer would cost from $2,500 to $4,000.
Berman – a longstanding family law lawyer who practices out of his firm, Berman Barristers – is crusading for better access to justice in the family law arena through the unbundling of legal services (which I have previously blogged about).