They might be more than a decade late to the technology, but some federal courts are attempting to take advantage of online chats to answer questions from those who use the courts.
Several U.S. bankruptcy courts are inviting people with questions to join them in online chats. The bankruptcy court in Arizona was the first offer information via online chat, prompting court officials in New Mexico and Nevada to follow suit, according to an article released this week by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
In the article, posted on the AO's Web site, Arizona Bankruptcy Clerk of Court Brian Karth said: "The court started live chat several years ago, as a result of a strategic plan initiative to better inform and educate the public.”
"I was surprised at the number of attorneys who use our live chat to ask questions," said Karth. "This has been particularly true in the past two years as many real estate lawyers expand into the field of bankruptcy law and have questions as inexperienced practitioners. They said it was more convenient than waiting on the phone for someone to answer a question—they could work while they waited for a reply."
According to the article, the Arizona bankruptcy court last month averaged 12 live chats per day, with a high per day of 25. And the average chat lasts nearly nine minutes.
No word on whether the bankruptcy court in Washington plans to follow suit. Court officials in D.C. couldn't be reached late Wednesday.