Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Federal Bankruptcy Courts Provide Online Chat Help


I have often told acquaintances that one goal of court automation is to allow court staff to be able to have enough time to answer the telephone.  But now the courts have another option. The December, 2011 edition of the US Federal Court newsletter, The Third Branch has an article on Bankruptcy courts describing their implementation of online chat titled "Chat Live Now!"


Our good friend Norman Meyer, New Mexico Bankruptcy Clerk of Court is quoted in the article
"'You see them on retail websites all the time,' said Meyer. 'I thought, 'Why don't we do that? 
Rather than voice messages, users send and receive text messages. It's convenient and immediate. Users are already on-line, and texting in a chat becomes part of their site visit." 
"'If a paralegal is having trouble in the electronic case files system, they can click and have a chat with a representative who will answer their question,' said Meyer. 'You don't need someone assigned specifically to the chat live. We already have a staff member on call. A window appears on their screen notifying them of a chat request.' The court's goal is to respond to a chat request within 30 seconds." 
"...According to Meyer, the New Mexico bankruptcy chat line is in fairly regular use. Law offices ask about filings. Pro se filers get help on bankruptcy chapters and filing. At the end of the conversation, a transcript of the chat is retained and the system keeps a log of the chats. 'We can go back and check information,' said Meyer.  
The application itself is inexpensive, costing $75 per month for use by three operators."
US Bankruptcy Court, District of Arizona - http://www.azb.uscourts.gov/
US Bankruptcy Court, District of New Mexico - http://www.nmcourt.fed.us/usbc/
US Bankruptcy Court, District of Nevada - http://www.nvb.uscourts.gov/

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