U.S. Bankruptcy Courts Begin Offering Online Chat Services

Posted on December 28, 2011 by


From The Third Branch:

The Arizona Bankruptcy Court was the first bankruptcy court in the nation to offer information seekers the option of an on-line chat.

“The court started live chat several years ago, as a result of a strategic plan initiative to better inform and educate the public,” said Arizona Bankruptcy Clerk of Court Brian D. Karth.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Mexico was the second bankruptcy court nationwide to offer visitors the option of an on-line chat. Two years ago, Bankruptcy Clerk of Court Norman Meyer, with some of his staff, attended a planning seminar at which they identified enhanced service to the public, particularly for pro se filers, as a court goal. The on-line chat was one in a range of things to accomplish.

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Rather than voice messages, users send and receive text messages. It’s convenient and immediate. Users are already on-line, and texting in a chat becomes part of their site visit.

“If a paralegal is having trouble in the electronic case files system, they can click and have a chat with a representative who will answer their question,” said Meyer. “You don’t need someone assigned specifically to the chat live. We already have a staff member on call. A window appears on their screen notifying them of a chat request.” The court’s goal is to respond to a chat request within 30 seconds.

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Last month, the Arizona bankruptcy court averaged 12 live chats per day, with a high per day of 25. The average chat lasts nearly nine minutes.

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More bankruptcy courts are considering adding live chat to their websites. “We’re looking at how it potentially could improve our customer service,” said Bankruptcy Clerk of Court Ken Gardner in the Northern District of Illinois. And in a recently conducted survey of attorneys in the Central District of California, the bankruptcy court found that 73 percent of the respondents wanted an on-line chat feature for Case Management/Electronic Case Files system assistance.

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Posted in: Government, Legal