Category Archives: Access to Justice

Call for Papers: “Conference on Advancing Equal Access to Justice:  Barriers, Dilemmas, and Prospects”

Call for Papers: Conference on Advancing Equal Access to Justice:  Barriers, Dilemmas, and Prospects, University of California Hastings College of the Law and Stanford Center on the Legal Profession, Stanford Law School, November 12-13, 2015, San Francisco, California.  Deadline for submissions: Nov. 12, 2014.

Full details after the break.

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Holder Backs Suit in New York Faulting Legal Service for Poor –

Holder Backs Suit in New York Faulting Legal Service for Poor –

New Report: “Accessing Justice in the Contemporary USA: Findings from the Community Needs and Services Study”

New Report: Rebecca L. Sandefur, Accessing Justice in the Contemporary USA: Findings from the Community Needs and Services Study (American Bar Foundation 2014).  Abstract from SSRN below:

A new study of the civil justice experiences of the American public, the Community Needs and Services Study, finds widespread incidence of events and situations that have civil legal aspects, raise civil legal issues and are potentially actionable under civil law. Most are handled outside the context of the formal justice system. These events are common and can be severe in their impacts. People experiencing these situations typically do not receive assistance from lawyers or other formal third parties.

In 2013, two-thirds (66%) of a random sample of adults in a middle-sized American city reported experiencing at least one of 12 different categories of civil justice situations in the previous 18 months. For the whole sample, the average number of situations was 2.1; for people who reported situations, the average number reported was 3.3. The most commonly reported kinds of situations involved bread and butter issues with far-reaching impacts: problems with employment, money (finances, government benefits, debts), insurance, and housing. Poor people were more likely to report civil justice situations than were middle-income or high-income people. African Americans and Hispanics were more likely to report such situations than Whites.

People reported that almost half (47%) of the civil justice situations they experienced resulted in a significant negative consequence such as feelings of fear, a loss of income or confidence, damage to physical or mental health, or verbal or physical violence or threats of violence. Adverse impacts on health were the most common negative consequence, reported for 27% of situations.

Typically, people handled these situations on their own. For only about a fifth (22%) of situations did they seek assistance from a third party outside their immediate social network, such as a lawyer, social worker, police officer, city agency, religious leader or elected official. When people who did not seek any assistance from third parties outside their social circles were asked if cost was one barrier to doing so, they reported that concerns about cost were a factor in 17% of cases. A more important reason that people do not seek assistance with these situations, in particular assistance from lawyers or courts, is that they do not understand these situations to be legal.


When Poverty Makes You Sick, a Lawyer Can Be the Cure –

When Poverty Makes You Sick, a Lawyer Can Be the Cure –

Simply Awesome Issue of Yale Law Journal related to the Gideon Anniversary

Available here — There are too many great articles to list out and the website has them all with abstracts.  After the jump is the cut and paste from the Yale L.J. website.  If anyone wants to write a post reviewing any of these articles, send it to me and I’ll post it.  GREAT STUFF!

Photo Copyright Ezra Rosser 2013

Photo Copyright Ezra Rosser 2013

New Article: “Empirical Studies of Law and Social Change: What Is the Field? What Are the Questions?”

New Article: Scott L. Cummings, Empirical Studies of Law and Social Change: What Is the Field? What Are the Questions?, 2013 Wisc. L. Rev. 171.  Abstract below:

The rise of empiricism within legal scholarship has had a profound influence on studies of lawyers, the legal profession, legal education, and legal mobilization. The overarching emphasis on the empirical study of behavior reflects and reproduces a broader trend across disparate legal fields: turning away from theories of law that rest upon implicit assumptions about rule compliance or stylized models of rational action and toward descriptive and normative accounts based on the real decision-making processes of real people. Hence, a defining feature of the contemporary scholarly landscape is that the fundamental question of jurisprudence—how law relates to society—is now being asked by a generation of scholars equipped with empiricism and steeped in interdisciplinarity.

This trend—what some have termed the new legal realism—is not so much a disjuncture as a revival and repositioning of prior strands of sociolegal work, some of which—deemed outside the legal mainstream at the time of their production—have now achieved a place of honor in the canon of empirical legal studies. Nonetheless, despite the ascendance of empiricism, its current iteration may represent less the culmination of the law and society movement than its mainstream assimilation. While the current version of law and social science embraces the craft of empirical study, it is often divorced from the normative commitments that drove first-wave law and society scholars to examine the law “in action” as a way to make law’s application align with a vision of a just society animated by left-progressive political goals.

Note: this article was published as one of a series of related articles, some of which I have posted to the blog already in their SSRN form, that came out of a colloquium on measuring outcomes in access to justice work.

New Article: “Gideon’s Migration”

New Article: Ingrid V. Eagly, Gideon’s Migration, __ Yale L.J. __ (2013).  Abstract below (Note: I’m not sure of the citation despite what is on SSRN).

For the past fifty years, immigration law has resisted integration of Gideon v. Wainwright’s legacy of appointed counsel for the poor. Today, however, this resistance has given way toGideon’s migration. At the level of everyday practice, criminal defense attorneys appointed pursuant to Gideon now advise clients on the immigration consequences of convictions, negotiate “immigration safe” plea bargains, defend clients charged with immigration crimes, and, in some model programs, even represent criminal defendants in immigration court. A formal right to appointed counsel in immigration proceedings has yet to be established, but proposals grounded in the constitution, statutes, and expanded government funding are gaining momentum.

From the perspective of criminal defense, the changing role of Gideon-appointed counsel raises questions about the breadth and depth of immigration assistance that should develop under the defense umbrella. From the perspective of immigration legal services, the potential importation of a Gideon-inspired right to counsel requires consideration of the appropriate scope and design for an immigration defender system. This Essay does not attempt to resolve these challenging questions, but rather provides a framework for further reflection grounded in lessons learned from the criminal system’s implementation of Gideon.

Report: “To Protect and Serve: Access to Justice for Victims of Notario Fraud in the Nation’s Capital”

Report: Elizabeth Cohen et al., To Protect and Serve: Access to Justice for Victims of Notario Fraud in the Nation’s Capital (2013).

New Report: “Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights” [on Access to Justice]

New Report: “Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights” [on Access to Justice] (United Nations Human Rights 2012).

Call-for-papers: “Gideon v. Wainwright & The Right to the Assistance of Counsel”

Call For Papers: Gideon v. Wainwright & The Right to the Assistance of Counsel

In the fall of 2013, the University of Iowa College of Law and the Iowa Law Review will hold a Symposium to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright (1963). The precise date of the symposium has not yet been decided, but it is expected that it will be held between the beginning of October and the middle of November. The symposium is inspired by a half-century of experience with the Warren Court’s groundbreaking decision to expand indigent defendants’ right to state-appointed legal assistance. Although the event has been prompted by Gideon’s ruling regarding appointed assistance, the planners anticipate and hope that the scholarly papers and presentations will address an wide array of subjects surrounding the scope, meaning, substance, or efficacy of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to retained or appointed legal assistance. Both legal and nonlegal (e.g., social science) scholarship related to these topics is welcome. Papers may be theoretical/analytical and/or doctrinal in character or may be based on empirical research about the effect of Gideon on the administration of criminal justice.

PAPER SUBMISSION PROCEDURE: Those interested in participating should submit a one-paragraph summary of the paper they will present and a two-page abstract that outlines the structure and content of the paper in more detail. The deadline for submission of proposals is December 15, 2012. Rough manuscripts will be due two weeks before the date of the symposium. Final drafts of symposium papers, which will be published in the Iowa Law Review, will be due shortly after the symposium, by a deadline that will be established by editors of the Review. Papers should be between 5,000 and 15,000 words in length. Submissions may be mailed to:

Professor James J. Tomkovicz
University of Iowa College of Law
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

or may be sent by email to: Inquiries about the symposium should be addressed to Professor Tomkovicz at the same email address.