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“How May I Help You?”. A Guide for Front-line Staff for Informed Referrals to Better Serve the Public. SRL Training Trial Court Employee Conference July 17, 2012. “What’s Your Problem?!”. “ We are too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet. ” Author Unknown

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“How May I Help You?”

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How may i help you

“How May I Help You?”

A Guide for Front-line Staff for

Informed Referrals to Better

Serve the Public

SRL Training

Trial Court Employee Conference

July 17, 2012

What s your problem

“What’s Your Problem?!”

“We are too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet.” Author Unknown

“When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail.”Abraham Maslow

Training goals

Training Goals

  • To equip staff with information and resources to give helpful and accurate referrals and direction to self-represented litigants

  • To enable self represented litigants to find information that will help address their legal issues and questions

The top ten rules of great customer service

The Top Ten Rules of Great Customer Service

  • Know who is boss

  • Be a good listener

  • Identify and anticipate needs

  • Make SRLs feel important and appreciated

  • Help SRLs understand our systems or process

Top ten rules cont d

Top Ten Rules...cont’d

  • Appreciate the power of “yes”

  • Know how to apologize

  • Give them more than expected

  • Get regular feedback

  • Appreciate your fellow coworkers

What are you working with

What are you working with?

The dilemma of the supreme court

The Dilemmaof the Supreme Court

  • How much to help ?

  • Ethical challenge for judges

  • Very little guidance

  • Ambivalence in the courts

  • Supreme Court favors offering support

Indiana constitution

Indiana Constitution

How may i help you

All courts shall be


How may i help you


person shall have remedy

of law

How may i help you

Justice shall be administered

Speedily and without delay

speedily and without delay

Indiana judges are encouraged to help the unrepresented

Indiana judges are encouraged to help the unrepresented

How may i help you

It is not a violation for a judge to make reasonable accommodations

Judicial Canon 2.2

And justice for all

…And Justice For All

The indiana supreme court is committed to promoting access to justice for its citizens

The Indiana Supreme Court is committed to promoting access to justicefor its citizens

How may i help you

… through the Division of State Court Administration:► Pro Bono Commission;► Certified Court Interpreters;► Guardian Ad Litem/CASA;► Public Defender Commission;► Self Service Legal Center

How may i help you

…and through the Indiana Judicial Center:► Child Support Guidelines;► Parenting Time Guidelines;► Special Courts;► Judicial Education;► Workplace Spanish

Who is a self represented litigant

Who is a Self Represented Litigant?

  • Pro se=Self-Represented Litigant (SRL)

  • A person who represents him/herself in a legal matter; acting on his/her own behalf

  • In 2011, there were 14,033 Pro Se litigants out of 37,822 DR cases filed.

    (about 1 out of 3)

  • 85% increase in SRL cases from 2005-2011

How may i help you

Why Is Self-Representation Rising?The increasing number of self-represented litigants is due to a number of factors: (Using the fill-in-the-blank answers below, complete the sentences on the right.)

Distinguishing one from the other

Distinguishing one from the other

  • Legal Information…is a written or oral statement that describes and explains court procedures, the law, legal terminology and options available to court users without interpretation, reference or application to a specific, actual or potential case or situation. Generally, questions seeking legal information start with words like “who”, “ what”, “when”, “where”, or “how.” Also seeks facts about the law or legal process.

  • Legal Advice…is a written or oral statement that applies or interprets the law as it relates to an actual or potential case or situation and /or recommends a specific course of action for the case or situation. Generally, questions seeking legal advice contain the words “should I” or “whether,” or asks for an opinion about what a litigant should do.

How may i help you

Self-service legal center


Family law FAQs

Family Matters DVD

Child support hotline

Indiana Legal Services website



The caller needs legal information and is proceeding pro se.

Pro Se Directory


IBA legal line and Talk To A Lawyer in other counties

Indiana Pro Bono Commission



Does the caller need legal information to proceed pro se?

Indiana Legal Services


The caller needs legal advice.

Does the caller need brief advice or ongoing representation?

Indiana Legal Services and county legal aid programs

YES, the caller is requesting free legal assistance.


Is the caller asking for free legal representation?

Indiana State Bar Association


or 317-639-5465

NO. The caller needs help finding an attorney to hire.

Created by Monica Fennell, Executive Director, Indiana Pro Bono Commission

County bar association lawyer refferal service or county bar

How may i help you

Requests for AssistanceRead the requests below and determine if they constitute legal advice or information

  • I need to file a motion for extension of time to file my papers. Does the court have a rule about that?

  • What are my rights?

  • My wife and I just moved to Indiana and we want to get a divorce as soon as possible. Where do we start?

Ex parte communications

Ex Parte Communications

How do you put it all together

How do you put it all together?

Start by reducing the complexity

and use a little HEAT

  • H– Hear them out

  • E—Empathize

  • A—Ask/Answer questions

  • T—Take responsibility for assisting

Time management


  • Less is more

  • Listen with empathy

  • You are the “face/voice” of the organization

  • They have a need, you have the resources

  • Efficiency: getting them to the resource

Resource review

Resource review

  • Resource List

  • Indiana Justice Center.org

  • Family Matters Video

  • Local Bar Association

  • FAQs

  • In what county do you reside?

  • Indiana Pro Bono Commission Website

Www indianajustice org


Pro bono v attorney referral

Pro Bono v. Attorney Referral

  • Pro Bono: almost always free for civil legal aid (make referrals for criminal matters to the public defender’s office or a private attorney

  • Attorney Referral: usually done by the State or Local Bar Association for a minimum consultation fee and/or reduced charges.

Local pro bono resources

Local Pro Bono Resources

  • Ask A Lawyer (dates TBD)

  • Legal Line – 6-8 pm, second Tuesday of every month, 317-269-2000

  • Legal Advice Hotline, M-F, 8:30-4:30, 317-269-2222, $35/20 minute phone consult

  • Lawyer Referral Service – 317-269-2222

  • Low Asset Wills Program

  • Bankruptcy Legal Help Line - 317-269-1910

Indiana foreclosure prevention network

Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network



What else can i do

What else can I do?

  • Strive to give at least two (2) referrals

  • Immediately note any questions or concerns for follow up

There s a lot to remember

There’s a lot to remember!

What will you do with the information

What will you do with the information?

Feedback evaluations


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