Access to Justice

  • April 04, 2021

    The Legal Journey For The Longest-Serving Juvenile Inmate

    Joe Ligon was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole at the age of 15, in 1953. By the time he got out 68 years later, he was the longest-serving incarcerated person to ever be convicted as a minor.

  • March 30, 2021

    'Coercive' Prosecution Drives Trial Penalty, Defense Attys Say

    A criminal defense lawyers group in New York says that "coercive" prosecution tactics pushing criminal defendants to plead guilty are largely responsible for killing jury trials, hurting the constitutional rights of defendants.

  • March 21, 2021

    Wiley Helps Win Reforms To Md. Parole For Juvenile Lifers

    A group of attorneys from Wiley, Pillsbury and the ACLU of Maryland recently secured a settlement bringing a host of reforms to the Maryland parole system and how it considers parole for inmates serving life sentences for crimes committed as juveniles.

  • March 21, 2021

    JusticeText Co-Founder On Building Tech For Public Defense

    JusticeText co-founder Devshi Mehrotra started building software to support public defenders' work when she was a senior in college. In an interview with Law360, she explains the origin story behind JusticeText and how technology can support criminal defense.

  • March 19, 2021

    Justices Tap Atty Suing Harvard As Amicus In Criminal Case

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday asked Adam Mortara, one of the lead lawyers in the anti-affirmative action lawsuit against Harvard, to step in as amicus counsel in a case over sentence reductions for offenses involving crack — his third time filling such a role at the court.

  • March 19, 2021

    Law360's 2021 Access To Justice Editorial Advisory Board

    Law360 is pleased to announce the formation of its 2021 Access to Justice Editorial Advisory Board.

  • March 12, 2021

    How COVID Impacted Criminal Courts, Communities

    Here, Law360 takes a look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected courts and communities.

  • March 07, 2021

    Expansive NY Bill To Expunge Criminal Records Gains Steam

    Michael "Zaki" Smith lost his job after his employer found out about his past conviction during a random background check. Now, he's advocating for a New York bill that would automatically clear criminal records of people who live crime-free for a number of years after being released.

  • March 07, 2021

    A Kirkland Partner's Journey To A Historic HBCU Settlement

    Michael D. Jones, Kirkland & Ellis' first Black partner, co-led more than a decade of litigation efforts to secure a nine-figure settlement for Maryland's four historically Black colleges and universities. Here, he and other advocates talk about his pro bono role in the landmark deal that they expect to be finalized by the end of the month.

  • March 05, 2021

    Virus, Protests And Appeals Could Shape Chauvin Trial

    Jury selection is set to begin Monday in what could be the most closely watched murder trial in decades, as prosecutors seek to convict former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd.

  • February 26, 2021

    After Aiding Client, Immigrant Atty Fights Own Removal

    Since 2017, Lizbeth Mateo and her client, Edith Espinal, have been fighting to prevent Espinal from being deported. With her client finally free to return home, Mateo is now facing the possibility of her own removal.

  • February 22, 2021

    First Step Act's Authors Tell Justices Courts Are Misreading It

    The senators who wrote the First Step Act of 2018 have told the Supreme Court that they did not intend to exclude low-level crack offenders from the law's sentencing relief, contrary to the findings of some circuit courts across the country.

  • February 22, 2021

    High Court Vacates Immunity In Prison Guard Mace Case

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday vacated a Fifth Circuit ruling that had granted immunity to a Texas prison guard who allegedly pepper-sprayed an inmate in the face in 2016, citing a November decision that found prison officers liable for obviously egregious behavior.

  • February 21, 2021

    Jamie Beck On Legal Services For Trafficking Survivors

    Jamie Beck's life — and career trajectory in a major law firm — changed after she attended a human trafficking awareness training session hosted by the Lawyers Club of San Diego. Here, she talks with Law360 about legal nonprofit Free to Thrive, which she launched to support survivors.

  • February 21, 2021

    Goodwin Wins Freedom For Cannabis Offender Serving Life

    A team of Goodwin Procter attorneys in January secured the compassionate release of Andy Cox, a 57-year-old serving a life prison sentence for a nonviolent crime stemming from growing cannabis in Georgia.

  • February 21, 2021

    Biden's Science Adviser Pick Could Advance Justice Reforms

    Eric Lander is one of the best-known genetic scientists in the United States and a figurehead for improved forensic science practices across the criminal justice system. Experts, including several whose work intersected with his, weigh in on what his anticipated cabinet-level appointment could mean for these priorities.

  • February 19, 2021

    BigLaw Puts Brawn Behind Pro Bono Black Business Efforts

    As the nation celebrates Black History Month this February, more BigLaw firms have joined the movement to combat racism and inequality by helping Black business owners in their community.

  • February 19, 2021

    NY Public Defenders Ask Leaders To Protect Parental Rights

    While there are cases in which children are in danger in their homes, advocates say the broad mandate of child welfare agencies often ends up being used as a prosecution tool. New York public defender organizations have asked state lawmakers to overhaul policies that often result in the separation of children from their parents, which they say disproportionately targets families of color.

  • February 07, 2021

    Justices, Leaders Address COVID-19's Barriers To Equal Justice

    The COVID-19 pandemic has both emphasized the importance of more widespread legal aid and made administering such support more difficult, according to legal professionals, including state supreme court justices, speaking at a recent conference.

  • February 07, 2021

    The Fund For Modern Courts' Chair On Judicial Reform Need

    The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on New York state's already antiquated and underfunded court system, making judicial reforms even more critical to Bill Silverman, Proskauer Rose LLP's pro bono partner and the newest chair of The Fund for Modern Courts.

  • February 07, 2021

    Thompson Hine Helps Overturn 'Unequal' Transgender Policy

    The ACLU of Ohio, along with attorneys at Thompson Hine LLP and Lambda Legal, recently successfully challenged Ohio's policy forbidding transgender people from correcting their birth certificates to match their gender identity, convincing a judge that the state's policy was discriminatory.

  • February 05, 2021

    Proposal Takes Aim At Discriminatory Online Ad Practices

    The civil rights implications of discriminatory online targeted advertising practices are at the center of a draft proposal to amend a federal law regarded by its proponents as the bedrock of the modern internet, but which critics say shields major tech platforms from accountability.

  • February 07, 2021

    Colo. Counties Unite To Keep Mentally Ill Out Of Jail

    Law enforcement officials in counties across the state of Colorado are working to keep mentally ill people out of their jails and prisons by creating new programs to detect mental health problems before these individuals enter the criminal justice system.

  • February 05, 2021

    Biden Seeks To Put Teeth In Environmental Justice Policies

    President Joe Biden's promise to secure environmental justice is an ambitious effort to achieve long-sought equity for poor and minority communities that experts say could maybe, finally, put teeth behind the lip service that has been paid to the concept. Here, Law360 breaks down four major environmental justice components in Biden's executive order on climate change.

  • February 05, 2021

    Where 5 States Stand On Nonlawyer Practice Of Law Regs

    At least five states are in various stages of consideration and implementation of new attorney regulations that would expand the universe of who can practice law — in some cases to include nonlawyers.

Expert Analysis

  • Cincinnati's Progress Can Be A Model For 2020 Police Reform

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    Cincinnati has come a long way since the 2001 unrest following the police killings of two unarmed Black men, and the city's comprehensive revision of police practices can inform local and state policymakers seeking a way forward from the current turmoil, says former Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken now at Calfee Halter.

  • Legal Deserts Threaten Justice In Rural America

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    Many small towns and rural counties have few lawyers or none at all, which threatens the notion of justice for all Americans and demands creative solutions from legislators, bar associations and law schools, says Patricia Refo, president of the American Bar Association.

  • Uncertainties In Gerrymandering Jurisprudence Are Unfair

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    With the decennial census underway and the corresponding redistricting cycle closely approaching, it is critical that we examine the current state of gerrymandering jurisprudence and how those challenging a redistricting plan as racially motivated have very little recourse, says Tal Aburos at Levine Kellogg.

  • Minn. Should Consider Another Charge In George Floyd Case

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    The Minnesota prosecutors who have charged Derek Chauvin with felony murder for the death of George Floyd are running the risk that the case will be dismissed on solid but esoteric grounds — while ignoring a different murder charge that would stand up to legal scrutiny, says Kyron Huigens at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

  • US Has A Legal Obligation To Provide Reparations For Slavery

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    The United States can no longer foreclose the possibility of recompense for African American victims of its legacy of racism while maintaining its international leadership on such issues as human rights and respect for the rule of law, say Arif Ali and David Attanasio at Dechert and Camilo Sanchez at the University of Virginia School of Law.

  • How We Can Equip Our Future Lawyers To Confront Injustice

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    Law professors must fill gaps in the U.S. legal curriculum by teaching cases and legal theories that can help students understand how the legal system and institutional structures perpetuate inequalities, says Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

  • 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.

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