Access to Justice

  • November 22, 2020

    1st Circ. Adopts 'Created Danger' Limit To Qualified Immunity

    The First Circuit this month recognized for the first time a doctrine carving out an exception to qualified immunity protections for government officials, allowing a woman to pursue claims that two detectives' mishandling of her rape case led to a subsequent attack on her and the killing of her boyfriend.

  • November 22, 2020

    2nd Look Law Needed To Fix Broken Criminal Justice System

    Over the summer, people across the nation rallied around policing reform to address racism in our criminal justice system, but focusing solely on police reform ignores prisoners put behind bars as a result of existing policing practices, according to experts.

  • November 22, 2020

    Milbank Attys Assist Muslim Nonprofit In Cemetery Fight

    Pro bono attorneys at Milbank have dedicated 5,000 hours to representing a nonprofit in a religious discrimination suit that alleges Stafford County, Virginia, purposefully changed its rules to stop the organization from building its second cemetery for Muslims in the county.

  • November 22, 2020

    Settlement Co. Offers Sex Abuse Survivors New Trust Option

    While working with survivors of sexual abuse by Larry Nassar, a New York-based associate at a settlement management company realized that these clients needed a different option for managing their settlements. So he spearheaded an account designed for them.

  • November 15, 2020

    NJ Criminal Justice Data Law Could Spur Reforms Elsewhere

    A new law pulling back the curtain on New Jersey's criminal justice system by requiring its attorney general to compile and analyze a wide range of information could serve as a model for the rest of the nation and fuel future reform efforts in the Garden State, experts say.

  • November 15, 2020

    Paul Hastings Puts Navy Vietnam Vets On Course For Benefits

    A team of pro bono lawyers from Paul Hastings LLP earned a key victory for potentially thousands of Navy veterans who were exposed to the highly toxic herbicide Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, after a federal judge ruled that the veterans could be entitled to retroactive disability benefits that could ultimately total more than $100 million.

  • November 12, 2020

    Justices Told Of Due Process Issues Without Bond Hearings

    The American Civil Liberties Union asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the Trump administration's position that undocumented immigrants who have re-entered the United States can be detained indefinitely, even when their deportation is far from certain.

  • November 12, 2020

    NY Judges, Court Staff Say Budget Cuts Will Hurt Access

    New York state judges and court staff lambasted cuts to the judicial budget in a New York State Assembly hearing on Thursday, warning that the state's justice system is already spread too thin to weather more austerity.

  • November 08, 2020

    Ballot Measures Nationwide Tackled Criminal Justice Reform

    In an election that saw a record number of votes cast, voters made their voices heard on key ballot measures across the country, on the state and local level, to change the criminal justice system.

  • November 08, 2020

    Brother's Wrongful Conviction Fuels Atty's Push For Change

    Greenberg Traurig shareholder Karen Kennard had just started her second year of law school when she watched her oldest brother, Tim Cole, convicted of a rape he didn't commit.

  • November 08, 2020

    Will A New High Court Swing Against Juvenile Lifers?

    After last week's oral arguments in a U.S. Supreme Court case concerning the sentencing of juvenile offenders, advocates on both sides of the issue say it's unclear how the court, which has changed in composition since the last major rulings on the issue, will interpret those precedents.

  • November 08, 2020

    Amanda Mineer On Veterans Access Issues During Pandemic

    Veterans Law Group supervising attorney Amanda Mineer talks to Law360 about how the coronavirus pandemic has upended the disability claims process for veterans and about what remains the greatest barrier for veterans seeking support after service.

  • November 08, 2020

    Orrick Helps Win Rare High Court Qualified Immunity Reversal

    A team of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP attorneys and the nonprofit Rights Behind Bars won a rare qualified immunity reversal in the U.S. Supreme Court last week, in a Texas federal case attorneys say owes much credit to their client Trent Taylor's self-representation from behind bars.

  • November 08, 2020

    Chapman, Legal Aid Chicago Launch App To Clear Records

    Chicago Legal Aid and Chapman and Cutler LLP have launched a web application to help automate the process of clearing clients' records in an effort to meet a growing need.

  • November 03, 2020

    Don't Look To Bush v. Gore For 2020 Blueprint

    As the nation waits with bated breath for the results of the 2020 presidential contest, the prospect of litigation over mail-in ballots in battleground states has led to fear that it could once again come down to the Supreme Court to declare a winner. Here's why that's still a long shot.

  • November 01, 2020

    Prosecutors Lend Their Clout In 2 Civil Rights Cases

    This past week sizable groups of current and former prosecutors, including state attorneys general and district attorneys, filed amicus briefs in two separate civil rights cases, a move experts say can offer a boost to such cases due to the officials' prestige.

  • November 01, 2020

    Kirkland Atty Helps Assault Survivor Reunite With Her Kids

    Kirkland & Ellis partner Amir Freund helped one client overcome a saga of adversity that began with a crime and ended with a global pandemic to reunite her family and let her restart her life securely in the U.S.

  • October 30, 2020

    NYC Tenant Attys Urge State, Courts To Prevent Default Spike

    As many as 14,800 New York City heads of households that have been sued for failure to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic could soon be at risk of losing their cases by default, a major step toward eviction that can be challenging to reverse, housing lawyers warn.

  • October 28, 2020

    Native Voting Suits Take On Inequities Amplified By Virus

    Native American voting rights advocates say the coronavirus pandemic has heightened the stakes of their efforts to protect ballot collection and in-person voting options through the courts, driving home the need for strong federal laws tailored to tribes' needs.

  • October 25, 2020

    Pro Bono Attys Look To Fill Poll Worker Gap During Pandemic

    Election officials worry COVID-19 could lead to a shortage of poll workers and long lines at the ballot, so some pro bono attorneys are stepping in to fill the gap before that happens. And with elections laws in flux across the country, those attorneys could be an invaluable resource in helping voters avoid confusion at the ballot box.

  • October 25, 2020

    Carmen Alanís On Electoral Integrity And Political Rights

    As the U.S. gears up for one of the most litigated national elections in its history, Judge María del Carmen Alanís Figueroa of Mexico, a member of the Kofi Annan Foundation’s electoral integrity group, is watching with interest. Here, she discusses the role of courts in elections.

  • October 25, 2020

    From Behind Bars, Pretrial Detainees Fight To Vote

    The majority of inmates in local jails haven't been convicted of a crime and are still eligible to vote. But a lack of information, resistant jail staff and even some election laws make casting a ballot nearly impossible from behind bars.

  • October 23, 2020

    Census Halt Poses Particular Threat To NJ And Its Immigrants

    Experts fear the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing the Trump administration to end census data collection early could have dire ramifications for New Jersey and its high number of immigrants, who comprise hard-to-count communities that depend on federal funding allocated in accordance with population numbers.

  • October 22, 2020

    Jenner & Block 'All In' With $250M Pro Bono Pledge

    Jenner & Block LLP said Thursday it is ramping up its commitment to pro bono legal services and pledged to provide $250 million worth of services over the next five years to clients in need of free representation.

  • October 18, 2020

    Wilkinson Walsh Helps Mo. Inmates Get Lifesaving Treatment

    In Wilkinson Walsh LLP's first major pro bono case, the litigation boutique joined forces with two nonprofit advocacy groups to win a landmark $50 million settlement in which the Missouri Department of Corrections and its prison health care provider agreed to give inmates suffering from hepatitis C much-needed treatment.

Expert Analysis

  • Lack Of Access To Remote Court Proceedings Is Inexcusable

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    Blanket rules that bar recording or dissemination of remote public court proceedings impede presumptive common law and First Amendment right of access, greatly expand courts' powers over nonparties, and likely run afoul of U.S. Supreme Court precedent, says Matthew Schafer at ViacomCBS.

  • Countering Racial Bias In Courts Requires Bold Change

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    A recent review of the New York state court system recommends addressing pervasive racism through anti-bias trainings and better discrimination complaint protocols, but such efforts only scratch the surface of systemic racism in the law, says Jason Wu at the Legal Aid Society.

  • In Defense Of Data-Based Pretrial Risk Assessment

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    Equitable, research-based pretrial prison release decisions are not lucrative for the bail bond industry, which has led to misleading attacks against data-driven assessment tools, say Madeline Carter and Alison Shames at the Center for Effective Public Policy.

  • Change The Bankruptcy System To Help End Cycle Of Poverty

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    Courts must simplify their procedures to make bankruptcy more accessible to those who can't afford lawyers, especially as the pandemic drives bankruptcies to unprecedented levels, says Robert Gordon, a principal at Lerch Early and a former bankruptcy judge.

  • Book Review: Did The High Court Cause Mass Incarceration?

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    William Pizzi's argument in "The Supreme Court's Role in Mass Incarceration" that the U.S. Supreme Court is responsible for the high rate of incarceration is compelling, but his criticism overlooks the positive dimensions of the criminal procedure decisions under Chief Justice Earl Warren, says U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman of the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

  • Pandemic Should Propel New Prison Reforms

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    Prison releases resulting from coronavirus and earlier legislation proved that not all nonviolent offenders need to be jailed; this should spur penal system reform that includes expanded probationary alternatives, tax incentives for companies that employ ex-offenders and government transparency to ensure unbiased sentencing, says Abbe Lowell at Winston & Strawn.

  • Finding A Path Forward To Regulate The Legal Industry

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    Gerald Knapton at Ropers Majeski analyzes U.S. and U.K. experiments to explore alternative business structures and independent oversight for law firms, which could lead to innovative approaches to increasing access to legal services.

  • Remote Court Procedures Can Help Domestic Abuse Victims

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    Courts have recently adopted remote procedures to make domestic violence victims feel safer during the COVID-19 crisis, but they should consider preserving these trauma-sensitive adaptations post-pandemic as well, say Ashley Carter and Richard Kelley at the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.

  • Law Commission's New Idea For Confiscation Orders Is Unfair

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    The recent proposal by the Law Commission of England and Wales to recall prisoners who fail to settle their confiscation orders when they have already served a sentence for nonpayment would, in effect, punish them twice for the same act, says Brian Swan at Stokoe Partnership.

  • Barrett Should Be Questioned On Children's Access To Courts

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    At a time when children's lives are so threatened by avoidable climate change chaos, understanding U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's views on what standing future generations have to seek declaratory relief in Article III courts should be an essential part of her confirmation hearings, says Julia Olson at Our Children's Trust.

  • A Smarter Approach To Measuring Prosecutorial Success

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    To improve their ability to dispense justice, prosecutors should measure the efficacy of their work based on metrics such as caseload distribution, timely case handling and racial disparity trends — instead of the traditionally used conviction rates and number of trials, say Anthony Thompson at the New York University School of Law and Miriam Krinsky at Fair and Just Prosecution.

  • States Shouldn't Hinder Local Gov'ts In COVID-19 Tenant Aid

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    In the face of increasing state preemption and absent other government intervention, states should explicitly allow city and county policymakers to help renters in order to avoid a pandemic-prompted eviction crisis, say Emily Benfer at Wake Forest University School of Law and Nestor Davidson at Fordham University School of Law.

  • An Abuse Of Prosecutorial Discretion In Breonna Taylor Case

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    The prosecution's decision in the Breonna Taylor grand jury proceedings to present a crucial, disputed fact — whether the officers knocked and announced themselves when they arrived at Taylor's apartment — as a settled question represents the partiality police officers often enjoy from prosecutors, says attorney Geoffrey D. Kearney.

  • Immigration Appeals Proposal Would Erode Due Process

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    A recent Trump administration proposal to limit appellate review of immigration cases would eviscerate the few existing legal protections for immigrants and asylum seekers at a time when they are already routinely denied due process in court, says Lynn Pearson at the Tahirih Justice Center.

  • 11th Circ. Ruling Doesn't Lower Qualified Immunity Bar

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    While a video recording in Cantu v. City of Dothan — a recent Eleventh Circuit case involving a fatal shooting by a police officer — allowed the plaintiffs to clear the difficult qualified immunity hurdle, the court's ruling does not make it easier for most victims to surmount the defense, says Adriana Collado-Hudak at Greenspoon Marder.

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