Watch video of this event.
On November 11th, 2015, Jonathan Fanton introduced the American Academy’s inaugural
Distinguished Morton L. Mandel Annual Public Lecture. Made possible by the support
and leadership of the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Foundation, this event convened
at the House of the Academy a panel of three distinguished jurists. Their conversation
on issues of access to the justice system was streamed to gatherings at four locations
around the country, followed by moderated discussions at all the locations. It was
also livestreamed via the Web.
The event served as the 2027th Stated Meeting of the American Academy.
Good evening. I am Jonathan Fanton, President of the American Academy and it is
my pleasure to welcome you, and to call to order the 2027th Stated Meeting of the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
This is the Academy’s first Distinguished Morton L. Mandel Annual Public Lecture
established through a donation from the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Foundation
based in Cleveland, Ohio. It is part of the Morton L. Mandel Program for Civic Discourse
and Membership Engagement, which aims to strengthen the bonds of community among
the Academy’s 4,600 Fellows as we stimulate discussion of important issues with
the general public.
Morton Mandel was elected as a member of the Academy in 2011. Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer of Parkwood LLC, he well understands the original aim of the Academy
to “cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor,
dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.” In making his
gift, Morton Mandel said he wanted to, “expand and enhance the impact of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences on how we think about ourselves in America and how
we set our priorities.” We are enormously grateful to Mort for his generosity.
Recognizing the importance of our conversation this evening, we are streaming the
initial panel discussion to groups of Fellows gathered in New York City, Washington,
D.C., Chicago, and Berkeley. When our panel concludes its presentations and as everyone
attending here in Cambridge engages in an open discussion, members in other locations
will have their own conversations. I want to thank Mark Kaplan for hosting the group
in New York at the offices of Skadden Arps, and David Zornow, Global Head of Litigation
at Skadden for moderating the conversation there. I would also like to thank Diana
White, Executive Director of the Legal Assistance Foundation, for moderating in
Chicago; Jane Aiken, Vice Dean at Georgetown University Law Center, for moderating
in Washington; and David Oppenheimer, Clinical Professor of Law at UC Berkeley,
for moderating the discussion in California.
Our program this evening concludes the first day of a two-day symposium here at
the Academy on the state of legal services for low-income Americans. The symposium
has been organized by John Levi, Chair of the Legal Services Corporation; Lance
Liebman, the William S. Beinecke Professor of Law at Columbia Law School; and Martha
Minow, Dean of Harvard Law School. The symposium has gathered together a distinguished
group of participants—federal and state judges, scholars, and legal aid providers—all
of whom are concerned that we, as a nation, are failing the American citizens who
are most in need of legal assistance. By some estimates, only 20 percent of all
Americans who qualify for legal aid receive the kind of support and services they
Our meeting today explored a range of remedies from increasing pro bono work from
students and law firms to mobilizing retired lawyers to using technology in creative
ways to help people navigate the court system. I came away believing it is possible
to make access to justice much more widely available and that the will to do so
Our topic this evening has been an interest and concern of the American Academy
for many decades. Even before the provision of legal services for low-income Americans
became a federal priority, in the late 1960s, Academy Fellow Paul Freund, an American
jurist and law professor, wrote in a 1963 issue of the Academy’s journal Dædalus
that “the provision of legal aid to the indigent” was a necessary “philanthropic
service.” Like any profession which considers its function to serve the public,
Freund wrote, “the legal profession must strive for, and will be measured by, three
standards: its independence, its availability and its learning.”
The Academy has since sought to evaluate these three standards. Focusing on Freund’s
first standard of independence, in 2008, the Academy published an issue of Dædalus
entitled “On Judicial Independence,” with articles by Sandra Day O’Connor, Judith
Resnik, and Margaret Marshall, which spoke to the importance of free and independent
courts. In 2014, an issue of Dædalus looked at Freund’s standard
of learning. That publication entitled, “The Invention of Courts,” helped us to
better understand the American legal system and its issues. We will push further
into the standard of learning next month with a Stated Meeting at Georgetown on
“The Crisis in Legal Education.”
But tonight, we will address the third of Freund’s standards: availability. To do
so, we have gathered a distinguished panel, beginning with our first speaker and
moderator Diane Wood, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the
7th Circuit. Diane is chair of the Academy’s Council and a member of our Board.
She is also a member of two Academy commissions—on the humanities and social
sciences, and on language learning—and has been a critical advisor and partner
to me in my first years as Academy president. I am personally grateful to her for
all of her hard work on behalf of the Academy and its members.
At this point, Dr. Fanton turned the program over to Diane Wood, Chief Judge, United
States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, and her fellow panelists.
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