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Growing use of digital assistants and virtual tools to improve A2J

Growing use of digital assistants and virtual tools to improve A2J

July 10, 2024 -- Courts across the country are recognizing the potential of digital tools to bridge the gap for self-represented litigants navigating complex legal issues. These tools assist users in understanding the legal process and help them make informed decisions about their case.

Working with NCSC, Philadelphia’s Municipal Courtrecently introduced two new digital assistants: Tenant Landlord Digital Assistant (T/LDA) and Consumer Debt Information Bot (CODI).

These tools serve as virtual companions—offering step-by-step guidance and plain language explanations—for self-represented litigants in landlord-tenant and consumer debt cases, adding Philadelphia to the growing list of courts embracing innovative technology solutions to improve court services.

“The majority of our litigants are pro se,” said Judge Gregory Yorgey-Girdy, supervising judge of the Civil Division, Philadelphia Municipal Court. “This technology gives them the keys to unlock the doors of the legal process and allows easier access to the Philadelphia Municipal Court.”

Digital assistants

Philadelphia's new digital assistants guide court users through the landlord/tenant and consumer debt process. By answering questions about their situation, court users receive a customized “just-in-time” plan in a friendly, plain language document they can bring to court.

“There is no shortage of legal information online. Sometimes the challenge for users is managing it all and determining what to do next,” said NCSC Court Management Consultant Aubrie Souza. “Digital assistants enable individuals to focus on the next steps in their case rather than figuring out how to digest and piece together information found online."

Tilda the virtual guide dog

The Tenant Landlord Digital Assistant (T/LDA), also known as Tilda, acts as a virtual guide dog for self-represented tenants facing eviction due to nonpayment of rent. Tilda obtains information about specific court documents, hearings, and desired outcomes and guides tenants through the process, explains options, and offers potential next steps. Tilda can also provide support for landlords.

A bot named CODI

The Consumer Debt Information Bot, named CODI, guides litigants in debt cases by helping them understand court forms, resolution options, and how to complete other tasks related to the case. At the end of each session, users receive a personalized guide for attending their hearing and information on how to prepare for court.

Virtual tools in other states

Technology is also helping court users resolve traffic citations in Salt Lake City. The Traffic Resolution Information Platform (TRIP) virtual tool obtains ticket information and provides detailed resolution options. TRIP also offers links to court websites, legal aid, and online payment services.

Learn about other virtual tools, like Miami’s SANDI chatbot, and access NCSC’s resource guide for building a chatbot for your court’s website at