New ODR Impact Assessment Tool from NCSC

The National Center for State Courts has just released a new paper from Thomas M. Clarke and Paula Hannaford-Agor entitled “Measuring the Impact of Access to Justice Programs: An Assessment Tool for Funders and Policymakers.” The paper presents a rubric for evaluating the cost-benefit of various strategies for expanding access to justice, with a particular focus on Litigant Portals and Online Dispute Resolution. The equation they use to calculate the objective comparable value of any individual A2J capability is:

The paper then applies this calculation to a variety of A2J approaches, including online dispute resolution. An excerpt from the analysis of ODR’s benefits:

“First, calculate the proportion of people who did not use other legal services who benefitted from ODR: 190,000 people who accessed ODR x 76% who did not use other legal services x 75% who received a positive outcome from ODR = 108,300. Then calculate the number of people who got a better outcome using ODR than with other legal services: 190,000 who accessed ODR x 24% who also used other legal services x 44% who received a suboptimal outcome with other legal services x 70% that received a better outcome using ODR = 14,045. Then add the two results: 108,300 + 14,045 = 122,345 (5% of 2.43 million people targeted for ODR).”

While the model is not simple to explain (as you can see) a thoughtful rubric such as this one will be very helpful in comparing different A2J approaches moving forward, and will be valuable to anyone attempting to calculate Net Present Value for ODR investments in the courts.

Check out the full paper here.