Michigan Legal Help Program

Location: Ann Arbor, MI


The Michigan Legal Help website and affiliated local self-help centers are part of the Michigan Legal Help Program. The Program works with judges, courts, lawyers, bar associations, nonprofit legal aid agencies, legal self-help centers, libraries and many others to promote coordinated and quality assistance for persons representing themselves in civil legal matters in Michigan.

Fellowship Overview

Michigan Legal Help Program seeks a full-time, 10-week fellow to be part of the team responsible for the Michigan Law Help Website. MLHP was created to help people who have to handle simple civil legal problems without a lawyer. One primary product of the MLHP is MichiganLegalHelp.org, an interactive, statewide website that provides legal information and referrals to self-represented litigants. Legal information includes Articles, Common Questions, procedural instructions, and Do-It-Yourself interviews that enable litigants to complete their own legal forms. The website also contains jurisdiction- and topic-specific referrals to legal services offices, lawyer referral services, and community organizations. In 2017, we will be adding a triage component to the website to help direct people to the exact legal information they need, along with the most appropriate referral to legal services or lawyer referral services based on the user's situation. The triage system will integrate with online intake and the State Bar's online lawyer referral service. MLHP supports a Spanish language version of the site at AyudaLegaldeMichigan.org, and provides live chat assistance for all web visitors between 11am – 3pm weekdays. The Michigan Legal Help Program also opens and supports affiliated Self-Help Centers around the state, where litigants can use the website on public computers and get additional help using the website and legal information assistance from trained Navigators.

Fellows Duties

Fellows will assist with content development and maintenance for the Michigan Legal Help website (reviewing & updating existing legal information content according to Quality Assurance Protocols; conducting research and drafting new legal information content for the website; learning plain language writing skills; etc.); participate in the drafting and testing of new Do-It-Yourself document assembly forms interviews; assist with staffing LiveHelp (chat-based to website visitors); and engage in other projects that are active during the course of their fellowship, which in 2017 will include testing and launch of the new triage module and integration with online intake.

Competencies Include

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent legal research skills.
  • Commitment to the mission and vision of Michigan Law Help.
  • Ability to prioritize and manage projects and tasks to meet deadlines.
  • Self-motivated and able and work independently.
  • Creativity and willingness to take on challenging projects.
  • Experience with using technology including document assembly, websites and video conferencing, preferred.