Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Divorce mediation info among resources new legal self-help blog offers

New blog promotes self-help for legal consumersRetired attorney and mediator David Giacalone, justifiably honored last year by Blawg Review with the 2005 Creative Law Blog Award for f/k/a, a law blog blending poetry with punditry, is now founding editor and host of a new blog.

SHLEP: The Self-Help Law ExPress was created with the aim of empowering individuals to solve wherever possible legal problems themselves--a goal which mediators will recognize and applaud.

SHLEP explains its mission this way:

For more than two centuries, American consumers have been shlepping toward justice — they’ve been manacled to an expensive lawyer in order to solve a legal problem, or to protect, assert or defend their rights. Our courts have become costly, complicated, lawyer-centered bureaucracies, rather than the accessible, client-centered dispute resolution centers they should be…

The self-help law movement strives to give legal consumers the tools and assistance necessary to solve most of their legal problems themselves -- if they choose -- including, at times, representing themselves in court as pro se litigants. The movement and process has been led by courts that are being overwhelmed with unrepresented parties, and by consumer advocates who believe that fair and effective access to justice is a universal right that should finally be made a reality in 21st Century America…

SHLEP's goal is to bring the benefits of a daily weblog to the Self-Help Law movement. We have assembled a Team of contributors with diverse expertise, skills and perspectives, to make it happen. Developments and news about self-help will be presented, and viewpoints expressed. In addition to creating or organizing background materials for those who want to find self-help resources, the shlep Team will attempt to keep readers informed of self-help resources available to the public and to professional providers of those services, of studies and reports on self-help law and related issues, of relevant symposia and meetings, and of the people and groups aiding (or obstructing) the movement.
Mediators will want to visit one post in particular: "Divorce mediation: mutual self-help," which describes the benefits that mediation offers to divorcing couples and links to mediation resources.

Best of luck to the SHLEP team in this first-of-its-kind blog project. (With thanks to David Giacalone for sharing with me the link.)