Civil Justice for All

Recommendation 1: Increased Investment

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Making Justice Accessible: Legal Services for the 21st Century

Recommendation 1. Dedicate a consequential infusion of financial and human resources to closing the civil justice gap, and seek a significant shift in mindset—extending beyond lawyers the duty and capacity to assist those with legal need—to make genuine strides toward “justice for all.”

This is the primary, overarching goal of the report. The number of lawyers devoting their time and talents to the needs of low-income people, through full-time or pro bono work, must multiply by a dramatic factor. But because lawyers alone will not be able to solve the crisis in civil justice, they should not be the only professionals allowed to provide information, assistance, and advocacy. With appropriate training and support, people without law degrees can help to assist tens of thousands of people facing eviction, food insecurity, job loss, domestic violence, and other serious problems. Collaborations across law, medicine, social work, and new technologies hold great promise and must not be held back due to outdated and otherwise faulty bar restrictions. The chronic failures to make justice accessible to all are severely heightened by COVID-19, and the nation can no longer treat the civil justice crisis as the concern of lawyers alone. It will take money, creativity, and effort from across society to ensure justice and legal rights.