Launch Pads and Incubators Providing Access to Justice Using Law Graduates and New Lawyers

Vol. 53 No. 1

Judge Fern A. Fisher is the deputy chief administrative judge for the New York City Courts. She oversees the day-to-day operations of the trial-level courts located in New York City and also serves as the director of the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program, providing oversight in developing and implementing programs to ensure access to justice for all.

Law graduates and new lawyers provide a fertile pool of potential pro bono or low-cost legal assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals. All state courts are coping with the flood of unrepresented litigants with cases.1 In some cases, an unrepresented litigant is opposed by an attorney, and in others both litigants are pro se. In either situation, ensuring equal justice is a challenge for judges. Many court systems have been active in trying to find solutions to the lack of civil legal services. Law schools are also beginning to embrace their obligation to assist their graduates after they leave the school. This article discusses two models for increasing pro bono or low-cost legal services: launch pads and incubators.

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