Greetings, Access to Justice Enthusiasts, from my Idaho home! I’ll never tire of writing that. So unlikely, the places to which life escorts us.
I regret that Idaho has no baseball park as beautiful as the one featured above. This picture of the newly-renovated Wrigley Field comes from ATJ kingpin Robert “Chicago Bob” Glaves. Bob scored himself one outstanding seat for the weekend’s Cubs/White Sox battle. I’m still getting used to that Jumbotron resting upon Wrigley’s decades-old foundations. But as big-screen TVs go it sure ain’t bad.
Fo(u)r your consideration, before the ATJ news:
- From Governing magazine: “An Urban Institute report…presents a detailed picture of how [income] inequality affects entire neighborhoods, showing stark disparities across communities within regions.” I didn’t know what that last phrase meant, either. The methodology focuses on larger metro regions, not just urban neighborhoods.
- Legal advice from your electronic device: “Larry is a service from…Lawtrades…designed to give [subscribers] near-instantaneous legal help whenever [needed]. All you have to do is send Larry a text message…and you’ll get a personalized response, specific to your situation and where you are. Larry is part automated and part human….” (Lifehacker)
- Ed. note: with due respect to our flesh-and-blood Lawrences, they’re calling this thing “Larry”?!
- “The upper level of the legal profession in the [U.S.] remains predominantly white and male. Underrepresented Americans can’t afford their so-called ‘equal justice under law.’ Law school costs are not going down. Deborah Rhode explores these and other problems in her new book, ‘The Trouble With Lawyers,’ published this month.” (National Law Journal) Rhode is known by many in ATJ circles because of her research on pro bono.
- “End of the corner office: D.C. law firm designs its new space for millennials,” from the Washington Post. The profiled law firm is Nixon Peabody.
The ATJ news in very, very short:
- FL high court: no bar dues hike to support legal aid
- American Lawyer & Pro Bono Institute release their annual pro bono reports
- More FL: welcome, Florida Justice Technology Center
- More on the American Lawyer’s recent “Justice Gap” report
- CT’s legal aid providers can no longer fund their poverty-law lobbying arm
- Ropes & Gray secures pro bono class-action settlement, uses the funds to support more public interest work
- ABA Center for Pro Bono’s recent blog series on business law pro bono
- New reports from up north on serving self-represented litigants
- Arkansas high court and ATJ Commission seeking comments on unbunding and use of unclaimed client funds
- Five civil legal aid myths debunked
- Don’t forget SCOTUS’s huge Fair Housing Act decision
- 7.10.15 – The Florida Supreme Court “rejected a proposal that could have led to attorneys paying higher Florida Bar…fees to help cover the costs of legal services for the poor. Justices split 4-3 on a proposal that would have allowed the Bar to increase dues by as much as $100 a year, with the increased money going to legal-aid programs. The Bar opposed the proposal…. The court’s majority wrote that ‘there is an urgent need to develop new solutions and sustainable sources of funding for legal aid’ but said a more-comprehensive approach is needed.” (Orlando Sentinel)
- 7.9.15 – two annual law-firm pro bono reports:
- the American Lawyer’s 2015 Pro Bono Report finds that pro bono hours have dipped slightly among the AmLaw 200 law firms.
- the Pro Bono Institute’s annual “Pro Bono Challenge Report” contains some good news, with a finding that more pro bono work is being done on poverty-law cases.
- 7.8.15 – more important news from Florida (haha – “news from Florida,” boy howdy this could go anywhere): “A new…nonprofit dedicated to increasing [ATJ] through the innovative use of technology has…launched with $725,000 in funding from The Florida Bar Foundation. The Florida Justice Technology Center is…modeled on the only other statewide nonprofit access to justice technology entity in the country, the nationally-acclaimed Illinois Legal Aid Online.”
- Here’s a little more detail about the FJTC.
- 7.7.15 – “The American Lawyer set out for the first time to find out how much money…big firms give to…legal aid groups. What we found, as we reported in our July issue, is that at best, big law firms give only one-tenth of one percent of their gross revenue to legal aid. Most give much less. David Stern, executive director of…Equal Justice Works, is one of many who believes these firms should do more. ‘When you look at how little they give, it’s pitiful,’ he says about law firm giving as a whole.” (This is the AmLaw report’s lead author, Susan Beck, writing in the Huffington Post.)
- Good for David Stern and his refreshing candor. David decided not just to stir the pot, but to shake it.
- 7.7.15 – Connecticut’s three civil legal aid providers, facing depleted and/or stagnant funding streams, are closing their joint, poverty-law lobbying arm, the Legal Assistance Resource Center (LARC). (Article from the Connecticut Mirror)
- A Hartford Courant editorial laments the legal aid funding crisis and the lobbying closure, but the editorial’s call to action – for legal aid to ensure “every potential funding stone has been turned” in keeping open the lobbying arm – leaves a bit to be desired.
- 7.6.15 – “Ropes & Gray LLP [served as pro bono] co-counsel in a class action alleging that Rikers Island [inmates] were subject to an excessive use of force…. [T]he firm will receive a share of $6.5 million in attorneys’ fees…. Ropes & Gray will fund a counsel position at the Prisoners’ Rights Project, donate to The Legal Aid Society of New York, create a fellowship at Equal Justice Works, and dedicate funds to pro bono initiatives….” (Bloomberg)
- 7.6.15 – my old colleagues at the ABA Center for Pro Bono published a blog series on business law pro bono. Here’s the kickoff post, “How Business Law Lawyers Contribute to Economic Justice.”
- 7.6.15 – a new report/analyses from the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta, focused on serving self-represented litigants.
- 7.1.15 – Arkansas wants to hear from you.
- 7.1.15 – “Marylanders – at all income levels and in all professions – need a better understanding of what civil legal aid does, who it helps and why there’s such a significant need in our state. A key to education is debunking common misconceptions. Here are five common myths our organization – Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) – often hears…” A good Baltimore Times read from MVLS director Bonnie Sullivan.
- 6.29.15 – “To much fanfare…the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage and upheld Obamacare subsidies. But those decisions overshadowed [a significant Fair Housing Act decision]. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court said plaintiffs don’t have to prove intentional discrimination. Instead, they can use statistics to show that even neutral-sounding policies can have discriminatory effects.
Music! Nice way to ease into Monday…