The Limited Legal Assistance Program (LLAP) has been providing unrepresented litigants with assistance on family law matters for the past several years. Offered by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) in partnership with Delaware Volunteer Legal Services, Inc., the LLAP offers program participants fifteen minutes of free legal advice from a Delaware attorney on a specific family law question.
Over 95% of participants report that the program provides a valuable service. With the numbers of self-represented litigants on the rise, calls for assistance continue to increase. In addition to the program’s long-time volunteer attorneys, including Richard Hannum, William Sudell Jr., Curtis Crowther, and Shana Pinter, the AOC welcomes new additions including Tabatha Castro, Dana Reynolds, and Kara Swasey.
What are LLAP participants saying about the program?
"[The program] really helped as it gave me a chance to know my rights before making a decision."
"Found out what I am entitled to and the best way to proceed."
"[This was] an amazing resource which was much needed. I sincerely appreciate the assistance and would recommend to others in my predicament."
Not one to rest on her laurels, Program Coordinator Karen Antonelli, with assistance from AOC Court Interpreter Coordinator, Maria Perez-Chambers, made the move to expand the program to include interpretive services to Spanish-speaking litigants beginning July 1, 2013. Spanish-speaking program participants work with AOC bilingual staff to complete the program materials prior to meeting with the attorney. Attorney consultations are conducted with the assistance of program interpreter Arturo Schubert. An interpreter will now be available for the LLAP on the first Monday of every month. Although still in its infancy, Spanish-speaking participants report a 100% satisfaction rate.
Attorneys interested in volunteering for the program, as well as litigants interested in participating in the program, should contact Karen Antonelli at (302) 255-0477. Appointments are made on a first-come, first-served basis.
Through another access to justice initiative, the Delaware Supreme Court and the Fairness for All Task Force video An Introduction to Civil Cases in the Delaware Courts is now available online to the public in Spanish. After a short introduction, the video highlights the steps of a civil lawsuit, how to start, file and/or respond to a lawsuit, as well as how to prepare for, and what to expect on, the day of the hearing. The video walks the audience through two sample civil matters: a claim for non-payment in the Justice of the Peace Court and a custody modification in Family Court. The video may be found at http://courts.delaware.gov/Help/civilvideos_ spanish.stm in Spanish and at http://courts.delaware.gov/Help/civilvideos.stm in English.