Making Justice Accessible: Designing Legal Services for the 21st Century
This project is designed to advance a set of clear, national recommendations for closing the justice gap that currently exists between the demand for legal services and the supply.
Designing Legal Services for the 21st Century gathered information about the national need for improved legal access, and curated the innovations piloted around the country to fill this need, in order to advance a set of clear, national recommendations for closing the justice gap—between supply and demand for legal services. The work undertaken builds on the research and analysis developed in the Data Collection and Legal Services for Low-income Americans project.
The project provides a national overview of the crisis in legal services with a focus on four common categories of civil legal problems: family, health care, housing, and veterans affairs. By addressing these issues case studies within the larger context of legal services, the project identified practical recommendations and innovative approaches to address challenges specific to particular court systems as well solutions to problems that are common across the civil legal spectrum.
The related Winter 2019 issue of Dædalus, “Access to Justice,” explores what access to justice really means, enumerates the multiple parties and interests with a stake in equal access to civil justice, and educates the broader public about current efforts to deliver quality civil legal representation.
The project’s final report, Civil Justice for All, released in September 2020, highlights effective initiatives and recommends nationwide steps to close the civil justice gap.
The Winter 2019 issue of Dædalus, “Access to Justice,” was discussed in the media and distributed at legal conferences and to members of the judiciary and policymakers. The issue was discussed in The New York Times, Slate, PBS NewsHour, Thomson Reuters, Judicature, and Law360. Copies were distributed to the Conference of Chief Justices and at a meeting of the chief circuit judges and circuit executives from the federal courts of appeals. A panel of Dædalus authors participated in a Capitol Hill briefing sponsored by Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) and attended by over 30 Congressional staff and Rebecca Sandefur, Kenneth Frazier, Martha Minow, and David Rubenstein spoke about the issue at a book event in Washington, DC.