Access to Justice

  • October 16, 2020

    Atty Gaps, Case Backlogs Set Stage As NY Eviction Hold Lifts

    New guidance from New York's court system has toppled some of the final barriers to residential evictions during the coronavirus pandemic, although how quickly cases proceed will depend on factors like case backlogs and tenants' access to counsel, lawyers say.

  • October 15, 2020

    NY Courts To Address Racial Bias Following Review

    New York State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said Thursday that the state courts will implement a set of recommendations proposed by a Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP partner, who was picked by the justice in June to investigate the court's response to institutional racism.

  • October 04, 2020

    NY Push To Nix Court Fines, Fees Could Spread Nationwide

    A new push to eliminate court fees and fines in New York could spur similar criminal justice reforms in other states, according to experts and advocates across the country.  

  • October 04, 2020

    Trump's Law Enforcement Group Halted Over Secret Meetings

    A judge's recent decision to halt a controversial law enforcement commission organized by Attorney General Bill Barr over a lack of a "fairly balanced" membership and closed-door meetings has reform advocates hoping for a more open process going forward.

  • October 04, 2020

    True Police Reform Lies In Rooting Out Bad Laws, Experts Say

    Those seeking to hold police officers accountable for their actions in the wake of the Breonna Taylor case must look not only at departmental protocols but also at the laws that may continue to allow racial inequities in the nation's criminal justice system, law professors said at a virtual panel Thursday by the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

  • October 04, 2020

    King & Spalding Helps Secure A Retrial In Ga. Murder Case

    A large team of King & Spalding attorneys recently brought BigLaw resources to the Georgia Innocence Project’s push to win a new chance at freedom for a man they say was wrongfully convicted of double murder nearly two decades ago.

  • September 27, 2020

    Nóra Al Haider On Improving Court Access During COVID-19

    The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated some of existing court access issues, forcing many to try to preserve their legal rights through a computer screen. Nóra Al Haider, policy and design lead at the Legal Design Lab, recently spoke with Law360 about the challenges that people are experiencing, and how the organization hopes to create solutions.

  • September 27, 2020

    Virus Compounds Challenges For Native Tenants In Rapid City

    While dozens of states enacted eviction moratoriums this spring in response to the pandemic, South Dakota made no special accommodations. New efforts are focused on supporting Native American tenants in the state, where affordable housing and legal aid have been hard to come by.

  • September 27, 2020

    In Email Atty-Client Privilege Battle, House Sides With Inmates

    Federal law enforcement officials could soon be prohibited from reading emails sent between prison inmates and their lawyers under legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, as defense attorneys warn the issue has become more urgent now that the pandemic makes in-person visits almost impossible.

  • September 27, 2020

    How Should The Bar Weigh Aspiring Attorneys' Mental Health?

    The high court bid of a rejected applicant to the Illinois bar is raising fresh questions about whether members of state bar admissions boards are best suited to make decisions about candidates' mental disabilities, especially amid calls across the legal industry to take mental health issues more seriously.

  • September 25, 2020

    Calif. Judicial Council Moves To Expand Remote Court Access

    The California Judicial Council accepted a committee's recommendations Friday to look at expanding the use of video technology to allow parties, counsel and witnesses to appear remotely during most noncriminal court proceedings, as part of the council's effort to enhance access to justice.

  • September 20, 2020

    Why The Risks Of 'YouTube Trials' May Outweigh The Benefits

    COVID-19 has forced courts to find creative ways to keep operating, but a Philadelphia policy to put criminal trials and other proceedings "live" on YouTube isn't worth the privacy risks, according to victims' advocates and other critics. That policy is in limbo for now, but the controversy may serve as a warning to other jurisdictions considering similar steps.

  • September 20, 2020

    Americans' Civics Knowledge Up In 2020

    Turns out there may be a plus side after all to a long period of impeachment brawls, contentious U.S. Supreme Court nominee fights and numerous investigations and scandals: More Americans are up on their civics knowledge.

  • September 20, 2020

    Farella Braun Secures New Trial In 40-Year Murder Case

    Marvin "Shaka" Walker has spent decades behind bars after he was convicted of fatally shooting a boy during a 1979 liquor store robbery in California. Through the work of Farella Braun & Martel LLP, he now has the opportunity either for a new trial or to walk free.

  • September 20, 2020

    Amid Virus, Disaster Attys Struggle To Reach Survivors

    Between wildfires in the West and storms in the South, 2020 is already shaping up to be a tough year for natural disasters. And for the legal aid attorneys on the front lines, the coronavirus is eating up resources and blocking access to survivors.

  • September 20, 2020

    Financial Aid For Attys Could Help Close Rural Justice Gap

    Financial incentives and highlighting the benefits of small-town life could help draw young attorneys to practice in small, tribal and rural areas, said panelists at a conference addressing access to justice in these communities.

  • September 13, 2020

    Online Court Pilot Gets Low Marks Ahead Of Wider Launch

    Utah's online dispute resolution pilot program, which is aimed at increasing access to justice, has serious design problems with its online platform, according to an outside evaluator, which recommended that the state work to make the platform more user-friendly.

  • September 13, 2020

    Flowers Case Shows How AGs Are Stepping Into The Spotlight

    The Mississippi attorney general's dismissal of case against Curtis Flowers, a Black man who stood trial six times for the same murders, marks the latest example of an attorney general swooping into the spotlight and taking over controversial prosecutions. It's a trend that could continue as long as racial justice issues garner national attention.

  • September 13, 2020

    LWV's Celina Stewart Talks Access To Justice Via Voting

    As the League of Women Voters' senior director of advocacy and litigation, Celina Stewart oversees a national case portfolio that has tripled in size during the pandemic. She spoke with Law360 about the intersection of access to justice and this year's election.

  • September 13, 2020

    Bill Would Loosen Pretrial Detention For Some Drug Charges

    A bipartisan bill recently unveiled in the U.S. Senate would eliminate the presumption that those facing federal drug charges must be detained before their trials start, with sponsors contending the measure would empower judges and prevent unnecessary incarcerations.

  • August 30, 2020

    New Orleans Threatens To Defund Court Over Fines And Fees

    Every year, the 390,000 residents of New Orleans pay an estimated $1.9 million in criminal fines and fees. But the City Council has passed a novel resolution threatening to choke off money to the courts if criminal fines continued to be levied.

  • August 30, 2020

    MoFo Helps Reverse 1994 Calif. Murder Conviction

    Police who buried evidence, a grossly unprepared defense attorney, and prosecutors who let officers lie under oath — for Arturo Jimenez, it all added up to 25 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. Earlier this month, a Morrison & Foerster pro bono team helped clear his name.

  • August 30, 2020

    Rape Kit Backlogs Continue To Delay Justice For Victims

    The state of Virginia recently become the sixth state to clear its rape kit backlog. With thousands of untested kits in other states, sexual assault cases remain unprosecuted despite growing efforts to get through the mountains of DNA evidence. The brutal case of one victim in New York shows why such testing can be critical.

  • August 28, 2020

    Chicago Bracing For Post-Pandemic Foreclosure Surge

    As the Circuit Court of Cook County stares down an influx of eviction, foreclosure and other debt collection cases, the local legal community is using the calm before the storm to help Chicago residents mitigate their pandemic-era financial crises and potentially save their homes.

  • August 26, 2020

    Navajo Man Executed Despite Tribe's Calls For Clemency

    Navajo citizen Lezmond Mitchell was executed at an Indiana federal prison Wednesday for a 2001 double murder, a sentence carried out over the objections of many tribal advocates and the Navajo Nation itself, which opposes the death penalty.

Expert Analysis

  • NY Ethics Rule Change Is Good News For Public Interest Attys

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    Lawyers have always bumped up against a professional conduct rule that prevents them from providing financial help to low-income clients, but New York's pandemic-prompted exception to the rule is a positive step toward mitigating the many hidden expenses that separate rich and poor litigants, say Sateesh Nori and Anita Desai at the Legal Aid Society.

  • History Tells Us Black Americans Need Better Legal Protection

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    Eliminating the legacy of slavery will not be the work of a day or a year, but there are concrete measures Congress can and should take immediately to extend the protection of the law to all Americans, says Jeff Powell at Duke University School of Law.

  • Okla. Offers Glimpse Of Eviction Challenges Amid Pandemic

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    Even in a small state such as Oklahoma, one of the first to reopen amid the pandemic, courthouses are facing the herculean challenge of conducting an escalating number of eviction cases under great restrictions — and it will be worse in larger states, says Keri Norris at LegalShield.

  • Police Reform Should Curtail, Not Codify, Qualified Immunity

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    The Justice in Policing Act passed by the House last week and intended to roll back qualified immunity protections for police officers is not perfect, but it is progress compared to the failed Reforming Qualified Immunity Act that would have clandestinely strengthened the barriers shielding officers from liability, says Edward Ibeh at Akerman.

  • How Attys Can Help As Addiction Cases Rise Post-Pandemic

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    The increase in alcohol and drug consumption during the pandemic is predicted to result in an influx of legal cases, but attorneys can establish a solid defense by ensuring their clients begin the journey to recovery, says Sue Bright at New Directions for Women.

  • We Must Do Better Than Hasty Police Reforms

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    Lawmakers are racing to enact police legislation in response to the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, but this once-in-a-generation opportunity cannot be squandered by hastily drafted bills and rushed changes, says Marisa Darden at Squire Patton.

  • Unfairness In Prisoner Litigation Is Baked Into Statute

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    Inmate litigants have a new hurdle to clear because of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this month in Lomax v. Ortiz-Marquez, but the court merely did as Congress said in the Prison Litigation Reform Act, says David Shapiro at the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center.

  • Police Reform Must Also Address Federal Law Enforcement

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    The recently introduced Justice in Policing Act is an important step against police brutality, but without express accountability for federal agents, the bill fails to address a gaping hole in the law, says Cori Alonso-Yoder at the American University Washington College of Law.

  • Extended State Foster Care Is A Necessity During COVID-19

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    Foster children turning 18 in the midst of the pandemic are extremely vulnerable to homelessness and exploitation, so states have an obligation to issue moratoriums on discharging young adults from their care, says Alexandra Dufresne at Zurich University.

  • 'Unauthorized Practice Of Law' Rules Promote Racial Injustice

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    By prohibiting nonlawyer professionals from providing meaningful legal assistance, state rules on unauthorized practice of law guarantee that black Americans don't have equal opportunities and rights under the law, and every state supreme court and bar association has the duty to reform them, says Rohan Pavuluri at Upsolve.

  • COVID-19 Crisis Brings Opportunity To Improve Legal Aid

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    The legal community must figure out how to use the adaptations necessitated by the pandemic to permanently improve the legal services delivery model and narrow the justice gap, says Rebecca Rapp at Ascendium Education Group.

  • Illinois Must Do More To Protect Consumers In Debt

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    A recent Illinois Supreme Court order limiting debt collectors' ability to freeze personal bank accounts during the pandemic is progress, but it does not solve the underlying issue that debt courts are rigged against low-income people, says Ashlee Highland at CARPLS Legal Aid.

  • The Case Against Solitary Confinement During Pandemic

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    Prisons and corrections systems must ensure that medical isolation during the pandemic does not devolve into prolonged solitary confinement that unduly burdens the individual liberty of people behind bars, says Marc Levin at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

  • Coping With A Pandemic: McCarter & English's Abdul Rehman

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    As society continues to adapt to COVID-19, Law360 is sharing reactions from around the business and legal community. Today's perspective comes from Newark-based Abdul Rehman Khan, pro bono fellow for the city of Newark at McCarter & English.

  • Legal Aid Needs Law Firm Support Now More Than Ever

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    With the need for pro bono services expected at unprecedented levels in the wake of the pandemic, and funding sources for legal aid organizations under severe stress, law firm leaders need to take measures to fill the gap, says Jeffrey Stone, chairman emeritus at McDermott.

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