Posted September 28, 20209:48 am
There is a vast discrepancy between the number of Americans who need civil legal assistance and the number who receive it. The average American encounters at least one civil legal issue every year, yet the vast majority of us cannot afford a lawyer. A lack of access to civil justice can be devastating for those without representation. As a result, far too many Americans experience preventable eviction, family separation, job loss, disrupted health care, and other hardships. The impact of COVID-19 has increased the urgency of understanding and addressing our nation's inadequate civil justice system.
Last week, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences's Making Justice Accessible project released Civil Justice For All, a new report that illuminates the civil justice gap and presents recommendations for closing the gap. Specific proposals include new partnerships, innovative programs, and involving non-lawyers in discussions about the duty and capacity to assist those with legal needs. On Sept. 24th, a virtual panel presentation was held to discuss the report's findings and implications for the future of civil legal aid. Colleen Cotter, Executive Director of The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, is a co-chair of the Making Justice Accessible project.
Featured on the panel:
- Kenneth C. Frazier - CEO and Chairman of the Board, Merck & Company.
- John G. Levi - Chairman, Legal Services Corporation; Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
- Martha L. Minow - 300th Anniversary University Professor and Former Dean, Harvard Law School
- David M. Rubenstein - Co-Founder and Co-Executive Chairman, The Carlyle Group.