Access to Justice

  • November 17, 2019

    As Legal Aid Attys See Pay Gains, Nonlawyer Peers Struggle

    New York City is facing calls to boost pay for nonlawyer advocates who help provide legal aid services but often need to find second jobs simply to make ends meet.

  • November 17, 2019

    Bart Stichman On Making Sure Veterans Get Their Due

    The co-founder of the National Veterans Legal Services Program opens up about the reasons he’s devoted more than 40 years to fighting for veterans to have access to justice.

  • November 17, 2019

    How Medical Marijuana Can Threaten Access To Public Housing

    Despite the fact that marijuana has been legalized in some form in 22 states, the fact that it remains illegal at the federal level means that marijuana users can lose their place in public housing because of it, forcing some medical marijuana users to choose between their home and their medical treatment.

  • November 15, 2019

    High Court Border Death Case May Curb Suits Against Feds

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s skepticism aimed at a 15-year-old Mexican boy’s parents suing an American border agent for their son’s death could result in a ruling that restricts individuals’ ability to sue federal officers for violating their constitutional rights.

  • November 03, 2019

    DA Accused Of Playing Dirty In Fight Over Justice Reforms

    Did an Oklahoma district attorney abuse his power by trying to dig up dirt on a prominent criminal justice reform organization and its director?

  • November 03, 2019

    Historic Bail Reform Deal Nears OK As Fresh Test May Loom

    A landmark settlement memorializing cash bail reforms in Harris County, Texas, appears to have a clear path to final approval — a move that could inspire other jurisdictions to take up similar changes but also open the door to a new round of litigation, those who have been following the 3-year-old lawsuit say.

  • November 03, 2019

    BYU Law, Wilson Sonsini Join Forces To Aid Asylum-Seekers

    As immigration courts face an acute shortage of attorneys, Brigham Young University Law School will be teaming up with Wilson Sonsini and SixFifty, the firm’s technology subsidiary, to develop tools to help those applying for asylum without lawyers to navigate the process successfully.

  • November 03, 2019

    Why Partnerships Can Help Maximize In-House Pro Bono

    In-house lawyers at Chubb Ltd. were eager to tackle pro bono work but knew that going it alone could be a daunting challenge in terms of direction and logistics.

  • November 01, 2019

    Congress Eyes New Office For Veterans Courts

    Under a bipartisan bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week, specialized criminal courts for military veterans facing minor charges could get a dedicated office in the U.S. Department of Justice to coordinate grants, training and other assistance — with $25 million expected in new funding.

  • November 03, 2019

    David Brown On Fighting To End Transgender, Nonbinary Bias

    As the transgender community both gains more mainstream visibility and faces backlash, the new legal director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund says the organization is prepared to keep pushing for civil rights and educating the courts and the public.

  • November 03, 2019

    Indiana Justices Start To Clarify When Forfeiture Goes Too Far

    In a civil forfeiture case over an Indiana resident’s Land Rover, the U.S. Supreme Court said in February that states can’t impose excessive fines. Last week, the Indiana Supreme Court outlined a test for determining excessiveness, siding with reformers who say the justice system’s revenue incentives must be reined in.

  • November 01, 2019

    Missing Records Suggest Strained Immigration Courts

    A Syracuse University research center’s allegations that a U.S. Department of Justice agency deleted nearly 1 million immigration case records could signal an under-resourced immigration court system overwhelmed by a growing caseload.

  • November 01, 2019

    DOJ Accused Of Wiping Nearly 1 Million Immigration Records

    The U.S. Department of Justice agency that oversees immigration courts has quietly deleted almost a million immigration court records and refused to correct its data, a Syracuse University research center alleged in a Thursday report.

  • October 27, 2019

    Case Undercuts Fee-Based Hurdles To Restored Voting Rights

    A ruling by a Florida federal judge earlier this month spelled good news for those who’ve committed felonies and want their right to vote restored. What happens next could have major ramifications in other states grappling with the legacy of felony disenfranchisement.

  • October 27, 2019

    Reps Eye Ways To Create More Ex-Con CEOs

    Federal lawmakers crafting a bill to support ex-inmates starting their own small businesses heard last week from three former prisoners who touted self-employment as a weapon against recidivism, especially for drug offenders, and highlighted obstacles in pursuing education and seed funding.

  • October 27, 2019

    Closing Rikers May Pave New Path For Mentally Ill Inmates

    New York City’s move to close the notorious prison Rikers Island could be an important step in making sure people suffering from mental illnesses, who make up half of America’s incarcerated population of 2.3 million, aren’t lost in the criminal justice system, according to speakers at an event on the problems of mass incarceration.

  • October 27, 2019

    Are Decarceration Advocates Ignoring An Inconvenient Truth?

    Advocates for significantly reducing the nation’s prison populations are overlooking the negative impact that releasing large numbers of individuals incarcerated for violent offenses will have on the poor neighborhoods where the ex-convicts will likely live after their release, a fellow with a conservative think tank argued during a recent event in New York.

  • October 27, 2019

    Why A Post-Disaster Rule For Pro Bono Aid Isn't For Everyone

    Advocates have said more states should consider a change to lawyer regulations that would temporarily allow out-of-state attorneys to provide pro bono services to people affected by disaster, but not every jurisdiction is sold on the rule, or its usefulness.

  • October 27, 2019

    Labaton Wages Asylum Fight For Persecuted Ugandans

    Labaton Sucharow has stepped up to aid Ugandans who were driven from their country because of their sexual orientation and now face a new challenge — obtaining asylum in the United States during the Trump administration.

  • October 20, 2019

    Calif. May Help Move Needle On Jury Duty For Ex-Cons

    A new California law allowing those with felony convictions to serve on juries could serve as an inspiration for other states that are considering similar measures, several criminal justice reform advocates say.

  • October 20, 2019

    Kavanaugh Has Plenty To Say In DC Sniper Arguments

    At last week’s U.S. Supreme Court arguments over life without parole sentences for juveniles, Justice Brett Kavanaugh repeatedly questioned attorneys for both Virginia and Lee Boyd Malvo, the notorious “D.C. sniper” whose life sentence was up for debate. His vote could be the deciding one.

  • October 20, 2019

    Karen Lash On Finding Legal Aid Funding In High Places

    Karen Lash helped lead federal access to justice efforts by convincing government agencies to include civil legal aid in their programming. Now she’s taking the model to state and local governments around the country with the Justice in Government Project.

  • October 20, 2019

    What's Old Is New Again As NY Judges Battle Court Revamp

    The latest proposal to remake New York's byzantine court system is facing old-school pushback from an influential group of state Supreme Court judges, even as judicial and political leaders say the time has finally come to streamline the system.

  • October 20, 2019

    3 Ways Legal Aid Attys Are Using Tech To Boost Court Access

    In the world of legal aid, finite resources and staff often spur organizations to turn to advancing technology for solutions. Here, Law360 spotlights three ways legal aid organizations are planning to use grant money to kick-start technology projects that will help litigants in need.

  • October 18, 2019

    High Court Agrees To Take Up Asylum Review Case

    The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear an appeal by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in a case concerning whether district courts have the power to review whether asylum-seekers have established a credible fear of persecution.

Expert Analysis

  • 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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