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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 7, 2012 — Stephen N. Zack, immediate past president of the American Bar Association and administrative partner at Boies, Schiller and Flexner LLP, is the new chairman of the National Center for Access to Justice. NCAJ is the single academically affiliated law and policy organization dedicated exclusively to achieving reform on behalf of vulnerable people in the civil and criminal justice systems. The Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, national advocacy organization based at Cardozo Law School in New York City.
“The rule of law begins with one word: access,” Zack said. “We cannot fight to establish the rule of law around the world yet be at risk of losing it at home.”
During Zack’s chairmanship, the NCAJ plans to release The Justice Index, the Center’s model for relying on performance measurement, on a dedicated website, to highlight and improve the quality of justice delivered by the legal systems in the 50 states. In a separate initiative, the Center is researching and writing a guide to enable law schools to strengthen student public service initiatives, an important means of responding to the increase in the number of people without legal representation in state courts across the country. More information about the Center’s work is available at NCAJ’s website, www.ncforaj.org.
As ABA president, Zack promoted four initiatives: access to justice and the underfunding of the judiciary; the need for increased civic education in our schools and for all Americans; Hispanic legal rights and responsibilities; and the ABA’s work in the area of disaster response and preparedness.
Zack founded the ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System—chaired by lawyers David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, and comprised of distinguished attorneys and judges from across the country—to call attention to the devastating result of underfunded courts: a decline in access to justice. Over the past two years the task force chronicled the harms caused to people and communities, ultimately producing a record that prompted the ABA House of Delegates to issue a resolution at the ABA’s 2011 Annual Meeting urging state and local bar associations to work with local governments to respond to the crisis.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
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