Despite progress, it’s hard to put a positive spin on this year’s Justice Index, the annual state ranking on access to justice. This data means we cannot rely on the legal profession to solve the crisis. Those of us who represent ourselves must help the courts change in ways that meet our needs.
Jim Sandman at the Legal Services Corporation is among the profession’s fiercest advocates for civil legal aid. That advocacy — along with the talent he brings to the job — makes him one of the Lawyers We Love.
Evidence is mounting that we’ve lost our collective minds. When courts need reminding that poverty is not a criminal offense — in 2016 — it’s time to reboot the system.
Lawyers and judges have made good, solid proposals for improving access to justice, but too often efficiency is mistaken for access. The best answers will come from an army of self-represented litigants as we continue to shape the courts to our liking.
Access to justice commissions are tinkering around the edges of what’s needed to restore confidence in our judicial system. The problem is deeper than their mandates. We need a better understanding of the role of justice in society. We need to see it as an antidote to the chaos spreading around us.
Laquan McDonald was murdered by a Chicago police officer more than a year ago. Video of the incident, released this week, showed that a blue wall of silence and an official coverup combined to deny this citizen every notion of justice. Our conversations around access to justice must grow to include these violations of basic human rights.
We can no longer tolerate the decrepit state of civil justice in the United States. But the system cannot fix itself. It’s our system, and we have to take responsibility for fixing it. For the pro se litigant, that starts with wriggling our way out of the special jurisdiction courts set aside for us, and then working collectively to abolish these courts altogether.
Lack of access to justice is a big deal these days in the legal world. For criminal defendants, the 6th Amendment provides a right to counsel, but it says nothing about the quality of that counsel. There are lots of innocent poor people in prison as a consequence. Regular people in civil courts are almost on […]
A recent guest post on Richard Zorza’s wonderful Access To Justice blog endorsed a strategy for building a legal self help center in every jurisdiction in the country within the next five years. Talk about a social revolution! Let me get this out of the way: I love Richard Zorza. I’ve never met him, never even corresponded […]
The NYU Law Review has a barn-burning speech from the chief judge of the state’s appellate bench, who sees the judiciary as the leader of the access to justice revolution (pdf). Judge Lippman is a tireless advocate of legal services for the poor. His work on reforming New York’s justice system is respected throughout the country. More Like This:A Right To […]