Access to Justice

  • May 12, 2019

    Can Online 'Pajama Courts' Reshape Justice?

    At any given hour of the day, someone in Utah could be wearing pajamas, sitting in bed, sipping a coffee — and handling a legal dispute over a $500 debt.

  • May 12, 2019

    Female Defenders Decry Handling Of 'Heinous' Sex Conduct

    A lawsuit against Cook County, Illinois is forcing a discussion on how to protect female public defenders from sexual harassment when they visit clients in courthouse detention facilities and jails. 

  • May 5, 2019

    Death Row Case Stirs Fears Over Quality Of Defense Counsel

    Of all the many cases an attorney might handle, death penalty cases might be the most high-stakes, which is why most people expect that the attorneys who take such cases are the best of the best.

  • May 5, 2019

    NYPD Blocked From Using Sealed Info In New Probes

    The New York City Police Department can’t use information found within sealed arrest records when they investigate other matters, as the practice is barred by state law, a New York judge has ruled in a putative class action challenging the practice.

  • May 5, 2019

    Akerman Taps NY Pro Bono Vet To Head Volunteer Efforts

    Akerman LLP has added a specialist in marshaling attorneys for volunteer efforts as the new head of its own pro bono projects, the firm has announced.

  • May 5, 2019

    4 Times Public Defenders Landed In Ethical Hot Water

    Public defenders are a key cog in the U.S. criminal justice system, but as with any subset of attorneys, there are outliers who flout ethics rules. Here, Law360 looks at four times when public defenders found themselves in ethical hot water.

  • May 5, 2019

    5.1B People Lack Access to Justice, Landmark Report Finds

    For the first time, a collection of world leaders and justice advocates have quantified the challenge facing the United Nations’ stated goal of ensuring equal access to justice for all by the year 2030. Their findings paint a grim picture of a justice gap that spans two-thirds of the world population.

  • April 29, 2019

    Aggressive ICE Tactics Set Up Heavyweight Clash In Mass.

    The Trump administration's zealous approach to immigration enforcement at courthouses has resulted in a showdown between the federal government and progressive state prosecutors in Massachusetts, reaching a boiling point in recent days with the indictment of a sitting judge and a first-of-its-kind lawsuit by two district attorneys.

  • April 28, 2019

    Big Name GCs Implore Congress To Boost Legal Aid Funding

    General counsel from Walmart, Amazon, General Motors and more than 250 other American companies are urging Congress to increase federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation, the country’s largest single funder of civil legal aid, despite the Trump administration’s repeated calls to ax the program.

  • April 28, 2019

    Their TrialWatch Begins: Clooneys Target Global Injustice

    It’s not every day the former United Nations high commissioner for human rights makes fun of George Clooney’s basketball game while the presidents of Microsoft and Columbia University look on.

  • April 28, 2019

    Pro Bono Team Helps Overhaul Colo. Treatment Of Mentally Ill

    In 2006, Eugene Zuniga was arrested in Colorado for stealing a bike and was declared unable to stand trial because of severe mental illness. But instead of being sent for treatment, he spent five months in a local jail without appropriate services, causing his mental state to deteriorate even further.

  • April 28, 2019

    US Prison Population Down, But Some States Buck Trend

    There were nearly 20,000 fewer people in state and federal prisons in 2018 than in 2017, a 1.8% decline fueled by steeper decreases in states such as Missouri and New York — and offset by increases in 19 states, according to a newly released report.

  • April 28, 2019

    Could Politics Make Courts A Sidekick Branch Of Government?

    Across the country, lawmakers are trying to alter how the judges in their home states are selected, crafting a wave of legislation this year that critics say will undermine the integrity of what’s supposed to be a politically independent branch of government and, with it, the rule of law.

  • April 28, 2019

    Blood Draw Case Tests Limits Of Consent To Cop Searches

    A drunk driving suspect's challenge to a blood draw ordered by police officers without a warrant while he was unconscious has the U.S. Supreme Court facing bigger questions of whether a statute can convey someone's consent to a government search.

  • April 26, 2019

    Legal Aid Atty's Firing Violated Disability Law, EEOC Says

    An organization that provides legal services to poor and underage defendants violated federal law when it terminated an attorney diagnosed with various mental health issues rather than transfer her to another role, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged Friday in Pennsylvania federal court.

  • April 21, 2019

    When Algorithms Control Justice, Who Can Check The Math?

    In New York City, more than 30 different automated decision systems help government agencies analyze DNA, assess inmates’ risk of recidivism and more. As algorithms become increasingly prevalent across the country, groups have raised concerns that the supposedly objective calculations might share some of the same biases as the subjective humans who created them.

  • April 21, 2019

    NY’s ICE Rule Offers Model For Other Courts

    The New York state court system’s recent bar on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement administrative arrests on its property offers inspiration and a tentative blueprint for other jurisdictions looking to sideline agency tactics that many advocates worry have a chilling effect on the justice system.

  • April 21, 2019

    Legal Aid Vet Bergmark Dishes On Rising Up For Civil Justice

    Former Legal Services Corporation president Martha Bergmark discusses challenges to federal legal aid funding and her most recent efforts as the founder of Voices for Civil Justice to raise the profile of America’s justice gap.

  • April 21, 2019

    Oregon Foster System Accused Of Failing Vulnerable Kids

    Kylie, age 7, was placed into foster care in Oregon in January after her mother was accused of neglect and substance abuse, but rather than being placed in a safe, stable home, Kylie was placed in four homes in two months.

  • April 21, 2019

    Justices Wary Of Stonewalling The Victims Of Faked Evidence

    With plenty of head-shaking and sharp questioning, much of the U.S. Supreme Court appeared dubious that the clock for people to file civil suits over bogus evidence used against them in a criminal action should start before that case comes to a close.

  • April 21, 2019

    McGuireWoods Taps Full-Time Pro Bono Director

    McGuireWoods LLP is looking to cement the importance of its pro bono program by appointing a senior counsel with a history of such work as the firm's first full-time pro bono director.

  • April 21, 2019

    Iowa Is Latest State To Extend Right To Counsel Protections

    The Constitution guarantees people the right to an attorney if they are charged with a crime, but more than 50 years after that right was established, courts are still hashing out just how far those protections go and whether they cover every stage of a criminal case.

  • April 14, 2019

    Program Aims To Empower Rape Victims With Kit Tracking

    Rape victims in Harris County, Texas, will soon be able to electronically track their rape kits under a pilot program expected to expand this fall to other parts of the state.

  • April 14, 2019

    Driver's Licenses May Offer Path To More Inclusive Juries

    Research shows a lack of diversity on juries is a national problem, but one Texas federal court could soon become the latest jurisdiction to alter its jury selection system in an effort to make those panels more representative of the community.

  • April 14, 2019

    Sex Offenders Win Shot At Release From Indefinite Prison

    If you’re a convicted child sex offender in America, your state or local government probably restricts the places where you can live. But dealing with the ensuing lack of housing by keeping sex offenders in prison indefinitely, according to a recent federal court ruling, is an “unconstitutional” solution.

Expert Analysis

  • How To Stop Civil Jury Trials From Becoming Extinct

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    If we wait to take action until we identify all the reasons civil jury trials are in decline, trials might disappear altogether. Let's address the causes we've already identified using these important jury innovations, says Stephen Susman, executive director of the Civil Jury Project at NYU School of Law.

  • Stripping The False Premises From Civil Justice Problems

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    When I began researching access to justice in 2004, there were two settled beliefs about civil justice problems so obvious that few bothered to investigate them. Both turned out to be false, says Rebecca Sandefur, associate professor of sociology and law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Cy Pres Awards Are The Best Answer

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    The argument that cy pres awards violate the rights of absent class members is wrong on many levels and ignores the fact that prohibiting such distributions creates far more problems than it solves, says John Campbell, a professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

  • Maybe Virtual Reality Juries Can Facilitate Access To Justice

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    Jury service is a terrible user experience and an unpredictable disruption. What if the courts leveraged virtual reality technology to allow jurors to serve remotely? asks Stephen Kane, founder of online dispute resolution platform FairClaims and a fellow of Stanford CodeX Center for Legal Informatics.

  • A Key Legal Reform To Fight The Child Sex Abuse Epidemic

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    With child sex predators victimizing, on average, over 100 children in their lifetimes, the implicit danger of retaining state statutes of limitation for prosecution of these crimes could not be more obvious, says Michael Dolce of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.

  • How State Courts Are Fighting Our National Opioid Epidemic

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    Loretta Rush, chief justice of Indiana and co-chair of the National Judicial Opioid Task Force, discusses how state courts can facilitate a successful policy response to the opioid epidemic.

  • Blockchain Can Empower Stateless Refugees

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    Innovative blockchain-based projects providing stateless refugees with forms of identification, digital assets and educational opportunities could change the rules for this vulnerable population, say Amy Schmitz of the University of Missouri School of Law and Jeff Aresty of Internetbar.org.

  • How The 3rd Generation Of Bail Reform Imploded

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    Thirty-four years after the passage of the Federal Bail Reform Act of 1984, we have finally seen the implosion of this misguided attempt at justice, says Jeffrey Clayton, executive director of the American Bail Coalition.

  • Class Cy Pres Settlements Are A Troubling Practice

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    Class actions are often touted as a powerful mechanism for access to justice, but is this true when there is zero chance of recovery for class members? asks Mary Massaron, a partner at Plunkett Cooney PC and former president of Lawyers for Civil Justice.

  • The Pro Bono Law That United Congress

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    Those who perpetrate crimes are guaranteed the right to counsel, but victims of domestic violence and sexual assault are not. With the unanimously passed Pro Bono Work to Empower and Represent Act, I envision an army of lawyers helping break the cycle of abuse, says Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska.

  • How BigLaw Pro Bono Pros Can Promote Access To Justice

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    Allegra Nethery, president of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel, discusses opportunities for large law firms to make a difference.

  • Aggressive Stops And Frisks Won’t Make Chicago Safer

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    Speaking recently to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, President Donald Trump called for stop-and-frisk practices in Chicago to reduce violent crime. But beyond the negative consequences of this approach, data supporting its effectiveness is sparse, say Dr. Tara Lai Quinlan and Northeastern University School of Law professor Deborah Ramirez.

  • Using The Constitution To End Punishment Of The Poor

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    One hundred and fifty years after the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, lawyers are achieving real victories on the ground with new constitutional theories striking at both inequality and unfair process, says Brandon Garrett of Duke University School of Law.

  • The Pro Bono Policies Worth Adopting In Every State

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    A recent survey of attorneys across the country found that, despite broad opposition to mandatory pro bono, strong support exists for a number of statewide policies and initiatives to more effectively engage the private bar in pro bono work, says Latonia Haney Keith, associate dean of academics at Concordia University School of Law.

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