Free Course: Build an A2J tool using Docassemble

Free Course: Build an A2J tool using Docassemble

by Matt Pennington

Sheffield Legal Hackers with the support of Tonic Workflows and Anson Evaluate are offering a free course for people who want to create a new web based service in the “Access to Justice” or “unmet legal need” space using Docassemble.

What is Docassemble?

Docassemble is a free, open-source expert system for guided interviews and document assembly. It provides a web site that conducts interviews with users.

Documents can be built using the information gathered (such as word docs or PDF’s) which users can download or e-mail.

Other than document assembly, Docassemble can be used for a wide range of applications – for example they might submit an application, direct the user to other resources on the internet, store user input, interact with APIs, or simply provide the user with information.

You can run a demo here:

What sorts of things can you build with Docassemble?

Some examples of Docassemble projects are available here:

MADE: Massachusetts Defense for Eviction

Application Notices (N244) + Witness Statements

MassAccess – Eviction, Domestic Violence, Family Law, Court Fee Waivers

Capturing Electronic Signatures

What kinds of projects are you looking for?

We are accepting applications from teams (a team should consist of around four people) who have a project in the “Access to Justice” or “unmet legal need” space in mind. We will prioritise applications from teams that:

  • can demonstrate a clear “route to market” in terms of being able to put the project you develop live and start helping people straight away.
  • have a project with a scope that we believe is reasonable to go live with by the showcase event in January (having reviewed the time you believe you can put into the project).
  • if we get a high number of applications – are Sheffield, or South Yorkshire based.

Some ideas could be:

  • Landlord Tenant Disputes (Various)
    • Contesting eviction notices
    • Forfeiture
    • Recovery of Deposit
    • Enforce Landlord obligations (eg. repair storm damage)
    • Service charge issues
  • Family Law – Form E
  • DWP Universal Credit Application assistance (Multi-lingual)
  • Disability Benefits Appeal
  • Disability discrimination
  • Case Management/intake for Legal Aid
  • Law Firm Employment Diversity – blind application process

Expectations & Time Commitments

You do not need any experience of coding prior to the course, just a willingness to learn (and refer to documentation!).

The taught elements of the course will take place over two sessions (15th & 29th October), and will be a condensed version of Anson Evaluate & Tonic Workflows full Docassemble course

Teams will then start work on their own projects, with mentoring and support available for a further four weeks, before all teams will present their projects at a showcase event in early January.

Each of the taught sessions will be approximately fours hours in length (including breaks). At the end of each session you will be assigned an optional project to complete within your team before the next session, that will help you apply what you have learned. Mentoring will be available over the course of the week if you need help.

Course participants will be expected to support and mentor one another during the course through a dedicated Slack group. If certain team members cannot make a given session, it would be up to their team to help them catch up.

Application Details 

Deadline for applications: midnight on 4th October

Results to be announced: w/c 5th October

To apply you must:

  • not be creating a solution for profit – you don’t need to be a registered non-profit or even a company, just creating something that will help people!
  • be creating a solution to help people living in the UK.
  • be willing to present what you’ve built at our showcase event in January.

Applications will be reviewed by the Sheffield Legal Hackers committee, Tonic Workflows and Anson Evaluate in order to decide which projects to take forward.

Project Timeline

Taught Course Dates (9am – 1pm)

  • Thursday 15th October       
  • Thursday 29th October

Project Build Phase: 2nd November – 27th November (4 weeks)

Showcase: Friday 4th December, 2-4pm

How to Apply

To apply, complete the Google Form here: