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SA pioneers online chat to improve legal services

by Poppy Johnston •
Free resource

Faced with finite resources and growing public need for legal information, the Legal Services Commission of South Australia developed a cost effective online chat tool where citizens can communicate with Commission lawyers on demand.  

Built on LiveChat’s platform, Legal Chat has improved citizen experience by offering an alternative to the telephone for South Australians requiring legal information.

The impetus behind the tool included mounting pressure on the Commission’s call centre, from 74,000 calls in 2012-13 to 80,000 in 2014-15. Legal Chat allows staff to assist a number of citizens simultaneously whereas telephone calls are typically dealt with only one at a time, improving the Commission's use of resources.

Over 400 citizens use the service each month, with the majority of enquiries relating to civil law (57 per cent).

Anecdotal evidence collected by the agency shows the tool is proving popular with users of various ages, those with impaired hearing or communication difficulties, those seeking privacy in an open plan office or public library, and those who are running low on phone credit.

Legal Chat is also receiving recognition from overseas, including by the American Bar Association Journal, particularly for the tool’s take up among regional communities. 

Legal Services Commission of South Australia Director, Gabrielle Canny, will discuss Legal Chat in detail at Intermedium’s Digital Transformation in Government conference next week. The title of her presentation is ‘From Nuriootpa to Nevada: Why SA's online lawyers are attracting American attention.’

Held in Adelaide on the 25th of August 2016, the half-day conference will benefit anyone involved in improving services to citizens, or improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their organisation.

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