Access to Justice

  • March 29, 2020

    Pro Bono Counsel Leaders On Mobilizing Against A Pandemic

    As cases of COVID-19 explode across the country, law firms are mobilizing to provide more pro bono support to legal aid groups and nonprofit organizations. Rebecca Greenhalgh and Steve Schulman, co-presidents of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel, spoke with Law360 about key steps to take when responding to the pandemic.

  • March 29, 2020

    Lynch Appt. Raises Hope For Atty Access Fix Amid Pandemic

    Even as the potential spread of COVID-19 in prisons and jails sets off alarm bells, New York advocates are hopeful that involvement by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch will lead to a quick resolution for people in detention at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center in a suit over attorney access.

  • March 27, 2020

    NY Judges Release 122 Inmates As Virus Cases Spike In Jails

    New York state court judges ordered the immediate release of 122 inmates detained in New York City jails on Thursday and Friday, finding it was a violation of those vulnerable individuals' rights to lock them up during the coronavirus outbreak, which had infected 183 individuals in the jails as of Friday afternoon.

  • March 27, 2020

    After $100M Ask, Legal Aid Funder Nets $50M For Relief Work

    As part of a $2 trillion relief package, Congress allocated $50 million to the Legal Services Corporation to help meet an explosion in legal needs stemming from the pandemic. The LSC, America’s largest single funder of civil legal aid, had requested double that amount, but its chief says that money will still make a difference.

  • March 24, 2020

    COVID-19 Border Restraint At Odds With Refugee Obligations

    The Trump administration’s latest border restrictions, handed down under a rarely used public health statute to combat the coronavirus pandemic, likely flout U.S. obligations to not return people to countries where they will be persecuted.

  • March 23, 2020

    Kagan Joins Conservatives In Insanity Defense Ruling

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan aligned with her conservative colleagues Monday to uphold Kansas’ narrow insanity defense, a ruling her fellow liberals say rips out “the core of a defense that has existed for centuries."

  • March 22, 2020

    How Coronavirus May Change Criminal Justice

    As COVID-19 ravages communities across the country, the world’s most incarceration-heavy criminal justice system is slowing down. Police are releasing arrestees; prosecutors are dropping low-level charges; parole officials are loosening rules. Could this pandemic change the way law is enforced going forward?

  • March 22, 2020

    Blacks, Latinos Bear Brunt Of Parole-Based Jail Time In NY

    Blacks and Latinos in New York state are supervised under parole, jailed before parole violation hearings and incarcerated for parole violations at disproportionate rates compared with whites, according to a recent report by Columbia University’s Justice Lab.

  • March 22, 2020

    Inside The Fight To Block Evictions During A Pandemic

    Across the country, tenants and their advocates are demanding a moratorium on evictions for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, adjusting their tactics on a daily basis to stop visits to crowded courthouses and prevent homelessness.

  • March 22, 2020

    ABA Task Force Chief On Meeting The Challenge Of COVID-19

    Jim Sandman, who recently stepped down from his nine-year post as president of the Legal Services Corp., America’s largest legal aid funder, is heading up an American Bar Association task force on the coronavirus outbreak. He told Law360 the pandemic could fundamentally change the way legal services are delivered in the future.

  • March 22, 2020

    2nd Circ. Urges Atty Access For Detainees Amid Pandemic

    The Federal Defenders of New York made progress in its fight for consistent access to clients in detention on Friday when the Second Circuit ruled that a mediator should be quickly appointed to help craft new protocols amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

  • March 18, 2020

    NY Landlords Can File Cases Despite Eviction Moratorium

    New York landlords can file eviction and nonpayment cases this week despite a statewide eviction moratorium that took effect Tuesday in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the court confirmed, raising concerns about close human contact and tenant anxiety in a health crisis.

  • March 16, 2020

    Law360's 2020 Access To Justice Editorial Advisory Board

    Law360 is pleased to announce the formation of its 2020 Access to Justice Editorial Advisory Board.

  • March 15, 2020

    Why Is Unbundled Legal Help So Hard To Find?

    Across the country, an estimated 60% of state court litigants have no lawyer to help them. One way to close the justice gap is unbundled services, a form of limited legal representation, but cultural barriers and a lack of understanding have prevented widespread use of the concept.

  • March 15, 2020

    Justices Put Juvenile Sentencing Back On The Front Burner

    Less than two weeks after a new Virginia law led to the premature dismissal of Lee Boyd Malvo’s U.S. Supreme Court petition challenging juvenile life without parole sentences, the justices have selected a replacement case that could answer long-standing questions about cruel and unusual punishment.

  • March 15, 2020

    MoFo Secures $1.5M Over Facebook-Based Wrongful Arrests

    An obscure California statute and social media connections led to the arrest of two men who found themselves facing potential lifetime prison sentences until a pro bono team from Morrison & Foerster stepped in.

  • March 15, 2020

    Iran, Cameroon Lead Worldwide Declines In The Rule Of Law

    The rule of law is declining more than it is advancing in a majority of the countries examined by the World Justice Project, with Iran and Cameroon seeing the largest drops, the organization has found in an annual report.

  • March 13, 2020

    ABA Assembles Task Force On COVID-19 Legal Needs

    Debt collection suits, evictions, insurance and government benefits claims — legal problems like these are always challenging, especially for low-income people who often lack legal counsel.

  • March 08, 2020

    NYC Indigent Defense Panels See Drain Of Local Lawyers

    Struggling with burnout and stagnant pay, New York lawyers are fleeing a program that provides experienced private counsel for poor defendants and people in family court, putting a strain on the system and chipping away at a career stepping stone for locally trained attorneys.

  • March 08, 2020

    Can The Courts Break Transgender Felons Out Of ID Prison?

    When transgender people are stuck using legal names that don’t conform to their gender identity, every interaction with the government, an employer or others who ask for their official identification can put them at risk of being outed and ostracized. For residents of nine states, certain convictions add another barrier to legally changing their names, sometimes for life.

  • March 08, 2020

    3 Ways Automation Can Enhance Access To Justice

    The delivery of legal services to low income consumers is being transformed by automation technology such as TurboTax-like forms for people facing eviction, and that transformation only shows signs of picking up steam as researchers continue to mine its potential for legal aid.

  • March 08, 2020

    Georgetown Prof Explains The Rise Of Nonlawyer Navigators

    At a time when more and more people have legal problems but don’t have lawyers, can people who aren’t lawyers help? Georgetown University Law Center senior fellow Mary McClymont talks with Law360 about the ways in which nonlawyers are increasingly playing a role in closing the justice gap.

  • March 01, 2020

    Justices Show Limits To Juries' Say In Death Penalty Cases

    Last week, a divided U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn a judge-ordered death sentence that no jury ever sanctioned, highlighting the unusually muddled legality of an estimated 97 death sentences around the country.

  • March 01, 2020

    Mooted DC Sniper Case Won't End Fight Over Juvenile Lifers

    Juvenile justice reformers rejoiced last week after Virginia passed a law extending parole eligibility to people serving life in prison for crimes they committed as minors. Though the development moots the closely watched D.C. sniper case at the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices have already begun considering five related juvenile life petitions.

  • March 01, 2020

    Sidley’s Push For Retrial Pays Off In Excessive Force Case

    More than six years of litigation and what became a six-figure verdict allegedly all started with Christopher Davis wanting some milk.

Expert Analysis

  • Bill Limiting Forced Arbitration Is Critical To Real Justice

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    Real justice means having access to fair and independent courts, but that will only be a reality when Congress bans predispute, forced arbitration under federal law with the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act, which passed the House on Friday, says Patrice Simms at Earthjustice.

  • 3 Ways DOJ Is Working To Improve Justice In Indian Country

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    As both a federal prosecutor and a member of the Choctaw Nation, I am proud of the U.S. Department of Justice's current efforts to address crime in Indian Country while respecting tribal sovereignty, says Trent Shores, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

  • Rules Of Evidence Hinder #MeToo Claims In Court

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    If women and men who bring sexual harassment allegations in court will ever have a level playing field with their alleged harassers, the rules regarding what evidence is relevant in a sexual harassment trial must be changed, says John Winer at Winer Burritt.

  • Sealing Marijuana Convictions Is A Win For Justice System

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    As a result of a novel class action, hundreds of New Yorkers' old convictions for marijuana-related crimes are being sealed, an important step toward a more equal justice system where the needless collateral consequences of marijuana criminalization are eliminated, says Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.

  • DOJ's Latest Effort To Undermine Impartial Immigration Bench

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    The U.S. Department of Justice's recent petition to decertify the National Association of Immigration Judges on the grounds that members are “management officials” and precluded from unionizing is part of a continuing effort to curb judicial independence in immigration court, says former immigration judge Jeffrey Chase.

  • Electronic Monitoring Technology Must Be Regulated

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    Based on my research into the electronic monitoring technologies that are increasingly becoming part of the criminal justice system, it is clear that they must be regulated, just as medical devices are, says Shubha Balasubramanyam of the Center for Court Innovation.

  • What You Should Know About Courtroom Closures

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    At attorney Greg Craig’s trial in D.C. federal court this week, the courtroom was cleared so prospective jurors could answer sensitive questions. Even seasoned litigators were left wondering about the nature of this subtle, yet significant, issue involving Sixth Amendment public trial rights, says Luke Cass at Quarles & Brady.

  • Addressing Health Care Liens In Sexual Assault Settlements

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    When litigating sexual assault cases that result in settlement, plaintiffs attorneys should thoroughly investigate how the plaintiff's medical bills were paid, and proactively prepare for insurers' potential health care liens, says Courtney Delaney of Epiq.

  • Death Penalty Return May Undermine Criminal Justice Reform

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    The last two years have been a watershed moment for bipartisan criminal justice reform, but with one swift edict — the July 25 announcement that federal executions will be reinstated after 16 years — the Trump administration risks throwing this forward momentum into reverse, says Laura Arnold of Arnold Ventures.

  • 2nd Circ.'s Approach To Bail Is Backward

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    The Second Circuit's decision in United States v. Boustani correctly identifies the dangers of a "two-tiered" bail system, but the proper solution is to make bail more accessible to everyone, not to fewer people, says Alexander Klein of Barket Epstein.

  • Secrecy Agreements And 1st Amendment: Finding A Balance

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    The divided decision by the Fourth Circuit issued earlier this month in Overbey v. Baltimore raises many concerning questions about the potential First Amendment implications of nondisparagement clauses in government settlement agreements, says Alan Morrison of George Washington University School of Law.

  • A High Court Win Will Not End Discriminatory Jury Selection

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    Although the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and remanded Curtis Flowers' murder conviction in Flowers v. Mississippi, history may simply repeat itself once again unless the legal industry does more as a profession to combat discrimination and use ethics rules for their intended purpose, says Tyler Maulsby of Frankfurt Kurnit.

  • Risk Assessment Tools Are Not A Failed 'Minority Report'

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    Contrary to Wednesday's op-ed in the New York Times, which refers to pretrial risk assessment tools as "a real-world 'Minority Report'" that doesn't work, these tools and the promise they hold to improve judges’ and magistrates’ decision-making processes should not be dismissed simply because they aren’t yet perfect, say professors at North Carolina State University and Duke University.

  • Looted-Art Heirs May Find A Sympathetic Forum In NY Courts

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    The New York Appellate Division decision last week in Reif v. Nagy — in favor of the heirs in a Holocaust looted-art claim — is noteworthy because of the manner in which it rejected the defendant’s claim of laches, just a few weeks after the Second Circuit had dismissed a Holocaust looted-art claim on those very grounds, says Martin Bienstock of Bienstock.

  • Addressing Modern Slavery Inside And Outside The UK

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    As the problem of modern slavery persists, U.K. companies must take a broad approach when rooting out slave labor in their supply chains, and should not ignore the risk posed by suppliers within the U.K., says Maria Theodoulou of Stokoe.

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