The family court system in Arizona, as is true in most states, is confusing and difficult to navigate. An estimated 30,000 people in Maricopa County are unable to afford an attorney to guide them through their family law cases. Scottsdale Attorney Billie Tarascio has come up with a new approach to making family law affordable for thousands of people who could not previously afford to go to family law court. She explains her new approach in this report.
Tarascio’s program is called Access Legal Documents. She developed this software program to make family law paperwork available to the 80% of people who can’t afford to pay lawyers to generate paperwork. This process allows clients to produce the paperwork they need and save money to pay for a lawyer’s courtroom time to do things that clients can’t do for themselves.
Tarascio cited the case of a client who recently came to her with two problems: The client needed a divorce, and she also needed a modification on her previous marriage. The client was able to go to the Access Legal website and fill out a lot of paperwork that is normally filled out by lawyers. Then, “come back with, let’s say, $5,000 for a day of in-court representation.” That, opines Tarascio, is a win-win situation.
In the short term, Tarascio explains, a law firm will take a financial hit. But looking at the longer term and the 80% of unserved clients, the situation looks better. Tarascio says that the clients she is looking at need just about any family law service one can imagine. The best clients are those who are educated but who cannot afford the rather high cost of in-court representation. Poor people, Tarascio points out, can go to legal aid.
Tarascio notes that her service is similar in some ways to Legal Zoom, but that service is geared towards transactions, such as creating a business or registering a trademark. Access Legal is set up to help people in litigation. “Having a law firm back you up while you represent yourself is the best way to be a self-litigant.”
Tarascio says that there are a few other law firms around the country that are doing this sort of thing. She believes that this process can be applied to other areas of the law.
Billie Tarascio attended the University of San Diego Law School and the University of Oregon School of Law and graduated in 2005. She worked at several firms in Eugene including the Department of Justice, Family Law Division, the non-profit A Family for Every Child, and she clerked at the Lane County Juvenile Court under Justice Kip Leonard. Her legal focus is on education law, including special education within schools, family law, adoption, and mediation. Billie is a skilled practitioner, national speaker, law firm business consultant, and a Martindale-Hubbell honored attorney. She was granted the prestigious “Client Distinction” award based on her Communications Ability, Responsiveness, Quality of Service, and Value for Money. Less than 4% of attorneys nationwide have been accorded this honor of distinction. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.