9:15-10Logic Without FlowchartsJonathan Pyle
Contract Performance Officer
Philadelphia Legal Assistance
10-10:45Docassemble Beyond DocsCatherine Devlin
Code for Dayton
10:45-11Networking Break
11-11:45The Docassemble Quick-Start GuideLouis DiLello
Chestnut Hill Legal
11:45-12:30Docassemble ToolkitMichael Hassin
Co-founder and Technical Lead
1:30-2:15So You've Decided to Work With Open Source Tools.
Now What?
Sarah Glassmeyer
Project Specialist Manager
ABA Center for Innovation
2:15-3Creating a Lawyer in a Box: Building user-friendly
intelligence into Docassemble interviews
Quinten Steenhuis
Senior Attorney and Network Administrator
Greater Boston Legal Services
3-3:15Networking Break
3:15-4With Docassemble and Justice for AllDorna Moini
HelpSelf Legal
4-4:45Docassemble for Fresh StartsRohan Pavuluri
4:45-5Closing Remarks
5-7Post-Conference Meetup:
Raised Urban Rooftop Bar
1 West Upper Wacker Drive
(3rd floor of the Renaissance Hotel)

Docassemble Beyond Docs
Docassemble doesn’t have to be just for documents! You can combine Docassemble with an easy-to-build web API to assemble a sophisticated web application as easily as building a PDF. I’ll show you how by assembling a full-fledged Docassemble-based web app before your eyes. Gather and store data for whatever your purpose using your Docassemble skills. Presto, you’re a web developer!

About the Speaker
Catherine is a database administrator and server-side programmer who works at the intersection of Python with data handling. She is author of IPython’s %sql magic. For the past four years she’s gone deep into civic data at at 18F, a Federal digital startup that helps other U. S. government agencies engage the public using up-to-date software design and practice. She also volunteers with Code for Dayton.

Catherine organizes user groups and teaches Python as a volunteer near her Dayton home and around the Midwest. She was the founding chair of PyOhio and a keynote speaker at PyOhio 2015, Ohio LinuxFest 2016, and PyCon 2018.

The Docassemble Quick-Start Guide
Remember “quick-start guides”? Those little pamphlets with big pictures that accompanied the much-lengthier instruction manual that came with your printer, camera or computer? They were helpful because, while it would be great to learn the divine purpose of every knob, button and function, you just need to get that &*!$ing printer to print, that camera to shoot, or that computer to, well, compute. This session aims to be the functional equivalent of a quick-start guide for Docassemble because you, as a practicing attorney (like me), probably don’t have the time to delve too deeply into the underlying technologies – as interesting (or boring) as that would be for you. We will look at what to learn and – equally important – how to learn it while practicing law and/or running a law practice full-time. We will map the path from your current level of knowledge of Docassemble, YML, Python and web development, whatever it is, to being able to create functional interviews that will save you lots of time in the long-run.

About the Speaker
Louis grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and graduated in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in digital media from Drexel University. Following graduation he worked for seven years at a digital adverting agency as a technical designer and, during that time, got his master’s degree in philosophy from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. In 2012 he attended law school at New England Law in Boston, Massachusetts, graduated in 2015 and passed the bar in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania a few months later. Now, Louis is a solo practitioner and owner of Chestnut Hill Legal, a boutique estate planning and probate practice in the historic Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. Louis maintains docassemble interviews which generate standard estate planning documents for his clients, cutting down on inaccuracies and the time it takes to draft such documents using traditional methods. Chestnut Hill Legal is now in its second full year of operation and is growing — thanks in part to the efficient use of technologies like docassemble.

So You’ve Decided to Work With Open Source Tools. Now what?
Although you might not be aware of it, DocAssemble is probably not the first open source tool you used. WordPress, Drupal, Android phones and the Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers are all open source. This session will help you decipher the rights and responsibilities you have when using Open Source tools.

About the Speaker
Sarah Glassmeyer is a lawyer, technologist and librarian working at the intersection of law, technology and access to justice at the ABA Center for Innovation. She is a firm believer in all things Open. Sarah’s honors include being named to the Fastcase 50, she is an ABA Legal Rebel and her writing was nominated to the ABA Blawg 100.

Docassemble Toolkit
We think that Docassemble has the potential to transform the nature of legal work, and our goal with the Toolkit is to make legal services more effective and affordable by reducing the barriers to widespread use of Docassemble.

We see the following as opportunities to help make Docassemble indispensable:

– Bypassing the complicated deployment process by providing a turnkey way to create and maintain a server
– Matching skilled Docassemble developers with law firms and legal aid organizations that have a vision for labor-saving applications
– Reducing the level of technical sophistication required to create simple interviews and form builders
– Providing an incentive for domain experts to share labor-saving Docassemble apps with the wider legal community

We’ve got thoughts on how to approach these issues, and would love to spark some discussion and get feedback from the Docassemble community.

About the Speaker
Michael is a software developer and entrepreneur who was too scared to take the LSAT in college but somehow ended up working in the legal field anyway. It took him two whole years to realize that he didn’t enjoy building software for giant corporations, so in 2016 he left his consulting job and co-founded, where he now works on tools and products that help legal networks better serve their communities. Outside of work, he’s into analog photography, bicycle repair, and translated poetry. He’s thrilled to participate in the inaugural Docacon in Chicago, a city he loves deeply.

With Docassemble and Justice for All
Legal aid wants powerful document assembly tools, multi-user interviews, flexible APIs, and multi-language support. Self-represented litigants want clean mobile-friendly interfaces and intuitive UI. So why is it taking us so long to give it to them? As it works in legal: if they come, we will build it.

HelpSelf started in December 2017 with a domestic violence platform used by legal aid organizations across California. With a sudden demand for expansion into other jurisdictions and legal areas, they knew they either needed a larger engineering team or powerful lawyer-friendly software. After discovering Docassemble, they built a tool for HelpSelf’s non-technical lawyers to seamlessly create automated workflows – in any area of law. No coding required, but with the power to integrate all of Docassemble’s bells and whistles. In this talk, founder Dorna Moini will talk about what they’ve built, who is using it, and how HelpSelf’s tool can be used to teach beginner coders about Docassemble.

You can watch a video on how their system works here.

About the Speaker
Dorna Moini is the founder of HelpSelf Legal (, a software company helping legal aid, law firms, and companies close the justice gap. HelpSelf Legal’s document automation tool uses Docassemble to assist non-engineers create their own workflows. Before starting HelpSelf, Dorna was an associate at Sidley Austin, where she litigated employment class actions and high-stakes discrimination, whistleblower, and intellectual property cases. Her pro bono work at Sidley spurred her to build technology to streamline her casework, serve clients more efficiently, and build tools for others to do the same. Dorna has a J.D. from University of Southern California Law School and a B.A. from New York University.

Docassemble for Fresh Starts
At Upsolve, we’ve spent the last year automating the personal bankruptcy process. Given the complexity of the bankruptcy system, DocAssemble has been the perfect tool to simplify paperwork and streamline the user experience. We will cover our experience implementing Docassemble, paying particular attention to the nudges we’ve incorporated throughout the product. This includes gamification, self-affirmation exercises, and other features grounded in recent research on behavioral psychology.

About the Speaker
Rohan Pavuluri is the CEO and Co-Founder of Upsolve. Upsolve is a technology nonprofit that helps low-income Americans get a fresh start after financial shocks with turbo-tax for bankruptcy. The average Upsolve user erases $40,000 in debt. Upsolve currently operates in 15 states. Funders include the Robin Hood Foundation, Eric Schmidt, and the Legal Services Corporation.

Logic Without Flowcharts
As the complexity of your interview increases, you will probably find that it becomes impractical to visualize your interview as a flowchart, except if the flowchart looks like a spaghetti monster, or a circuit diagram of a CPU. Even though you designed the logic, you may find that you can only comprehend it by looking at it once piece at a time.

Docassemble was designed to help you wrangle such gnarly interviews. This session will explain techniques that you can use to manage complexity. For example: using mandatory code blocks to map out the “big picture”; rather than using multiple related questions, packing those questions into a single generalized question; splitting your interview into files; hiding ugly-looking code in Python modules so that your interview files are human-readable; and putting general rules and exceptions into separate blocks.

By the end of the session, you should feel comfortable with creating interviews that handle all the “corner cases.” Since you have tools to manage complexity, you won’t have to worry about your interviews getting out of hand.

About the Speaker
Jonathan Pyle is an attorney at Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA), where he uses the tools of software development and data analysis to support service delivery and broad-based advocacy. Before joining PLA, he practiced law in the areas of class action defense and government investigations, and served as vice-president of a management consulting company. In his spare time he develops free, open-source software for legal applications.

Creating a Lawyer in a Box: Building user-friendly intelligence into Docassemble interviews

Docassemble is a powerful platform for building apps around logical rules. That power comes with a paradox of choice: there are many options, and relatively few models of how to approach development.

This session will be an informal, practical overview of a guided interview built with Docassemble from a developer’s perspective: an interview that generates an Answer and Request for Discovery for pro-se tenants facing eviction in Massachusetts.

The session will begin with a brief tour of the interview, and then discuss the development process including:

– Integrating Github into the authoring process
– Using a custom Python class to represent Discovery objects
– Storing logical relationships externally in Google sheets
– Controlling the order of questions
– Plain language and usability testing
– Building relationships with courts and social service agencies to drive adoption of the project

There will be time for questions and for interview authors to share their own development best practices.

About the Speaker
Quinten Steenhuis is a senior housing attorney, systems administrator, and developer at Greater Boston Legal Services, where he has worked since 2008. Quinten has practiced housing and eviction defense law since 2008, and has been a professional programmer and web application developer since 2001. He speaks at area law schools and blogs frequently on the topic of legal technology. In addition to systems administration and individual representation of low income tenants, he currently works on projects addressing social justice and access to justice with technology focusing on the topic of housing and evictions. Quinten is an active member of his local community, serving as an appointed member of the City of Cambridge’s Recycling Advisory Committee, serving on the Access to Justice Commission’s working group on housing through the Justice for All initiative, founding a neighborhood political action group, and serving as the long-time president of a Scrabble club in Somerville, MA. He received his B.Sc. in Logic and Computation with an additional B.Sc. in Political Science from Carnegie Mellon University and J.D. from Cornell Law School.

Quinten first began working on technology for social change in 2001 when he was a member of the global Indymedia tech collective. He was a founding member and web developer for the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center and a founding members of its radio news magazine that lasted from 2004 until 2013 and was syndicated on the Pacifica network satellite and 9 local radio stations.

Quinten’s technology projects can be viewed on GitHub and on his personal website.

<< Back to Home