Clerk’s Corner: Let’s Chat

Published: December 28, 2023

By Clerk of Court John Domurad

To better serve the public, the Northern District Clerk’s Office has adopted a mantra of “Meeting our customers where they are, rather than where we would like them to be.” What does this mean? It means being open to using new technologies that create additional avenues through which our customers and stakeholders can reach us with questions or requests. I have to be candid, when my Chief Deputy, Dan McAllister, approached me with an idea of installing a “chat” feature on our external website, I was somewhat skeptical. “Do we really need that” was my first reaction. However, Dan challenged me to ask any parent of a millennial how the younger generation would prefer to communicate, and they will reaffirm that the younger generation would much rather text and email than pick up the phone and “waste time” talking. Facing such irrefutable logic, I acquiesced and authorized the project to move forward. I would never have imagined that this simple icon could generate such positive results:

Let's Chat icon

Without any advertising or fanfare by the Clerk’s Office, this feature went live on our external website on June 19, 2023. Since then, we have been able to service more than 500 customers via this medium. During normal business hours, the chat feature is monitored by our Clerk’s Office teammates who are able to provide instantaneous answers to questions posed. In addition, because of the nature of the chat feature, the answers provided are far more robust and useful when compared to what can be provided over the telephone or in person. For example, we recently received a question from a pro se litigant inquiring how to notify the court of a change in address. With the new chat feature, a teammate was able to send the customer not only a link to the proper form but also a link to a portal where they can file their document with the court. Following the steps provided, the customer was able to complete this process in minutes whereas, if it were done conventionally, it may have taken several days.

An added benefit to this new program is that during non-business hours, the chat feature has a “chatbot” that actively reviews the question being poised and directs the customer to specific links on our website that contain answers to their question. It is amazing to track how successful this automated feature is when answering common questions involving the following subjects:

  • Information about jury service.
  • Attorney admissions.
  • Remotely listening to court proceedings.
  • Obtaining court documents.
  • Information about filing procedures and requirements.

If you are interested in using this service, simply click on the “Let’s Chat” icon on our external homepage at Of course, while we encourage you to use this chat feature, we remain available via telephone or in person to answer any questions you may have. If you have any questions, or would like to provide us feedback on this new feature, please feel free to call or email me John Domurad at (518) 257-1809, [email protected] or Chief Deputy Dan McAllister at (315) 234-8505, [email protected]. We would love to learn more about how we can improve your experience with the NDNY Clerk’s Office.