by Bobby Larsen
Under the leadership of managing partner and Nebraska Law alumna Angela Dunne, Omaha law firm Koenig|Dunne recently launched Untie Online, an affordable online divorce service that seeks to empower clients to complete their divorce on their own terms. I talked to Angela Lennon, a partner at Koenig|Dunne, about Untie Online. Angela is a certified collaborative divorce attorney and a member of the Nebraska Academy of Collaborative Professionals. She is a past president of the Nebraska Women’s Bar Association and the Young Lawyers Division of the Omaha Bar Association, as well as a past selection of the Super Lawyer’s Great Plains Rising Star List.
When did Koenig|Dunne begin to offer Untie Online and how does it use technology to, in the firm’s words, reimagine what divorce support looks like?
Koenig|Dunne launched Untie Online in December 2019. We are using technology to increase access to justice. Clients have the availability to determine how much support they need through the divorce process. As a client, they have access to our website which provides step-by-step guidance, a comprehensive divorce workbook, the forms required to complete their divorce, and – as an added bonus – access to ask experienced divorce attorneys questions about the divorce process in Nebraska.
In terms of completing the forms, our technology walks the client through each form in an easy-to-understand interview format. The technology is smart and responsive and once all of the information has been inputted by the client, a completed legal document is generated that can be filed with the court.
If someone is looking to get divorced and wants to use Untie Online, how would they get started?
They can start by checking out our website. The website walks you through what the service provides and details the different membership and pricing options. As an added bonus, potential clients can fill out a sample Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage for free so they can test the technology to see how easy and user friendly it is to use. If they have questions, they can always reach out to us directly at email@example.com or call us at 531-721-2001.
Why do flat-fee services make sense for divorce cases?
Flat fee services make sense for divorces on a case-by-case basis. Untie Online provides clarity for clients who don’t want or don’t need full representation. The membership pricing structure offered by Untie Online gives clients certainty as to the type of services they’ll receive on a limited scope basis and the fees they can expect to pay.
Koenig|Dunne has expressed its commitment to increasing access to justice. How does Untie Online help further that mission?
According to Chief Justice Heavican in a State of the Judiciary Address, one of the major challenges that our courts and judges face is the rapid increase of self-represented litigants. A study of some of the statistics show that the vast majority of self-represented litigants are involved in domestic relations cases.
According to clerks and judges, self-represented litigants need more help in navigating the legal system in terms of figuring out which forms to fill out, how to fill out the forms, and questions about various hearings and the progression of cases. Untie Online provides an option for individuals who may otherwise not have access to an attorney geographically or can’t afford full representation to assist them in the divorce process.
Lennon directed me to a 2015 report, Nebraska Justice Gap: An Assessment of the Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Nebraskans, which found that 12 of Nebraska’s 93 counties have no lawyers and, even more jarringly, five of the ten poorest counties in the state have no lawyers. For Nebraskans who can’t afford or access an attorney, services like Untie Online are all the more important.
Bobby Larsen is a second-year student at the University of Nebraska College of Law and a contributing writer for JDs Advancing Justice. Bobby also serves as Vice President of the Equal Justice Society, Community Legal Education Project, and American Constitution Society and as a member of the Student-Faculty Honor Committee, Student Faculty Committee and Pro Bono Committee. He is the college's Equal Justice Works Student Representative and an ex officio member of the Nebraska State Bar Association's Legal Services Committee.