chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
Center for Innovation

Redesigning Legal: Cultivating an Oasis in Legal Service Deserts

Speaker Biographies

Legal deserts, in both rural and urban environments, continue to be a persistent challenge in the access to justice space. In this session of redesigning legal, our expert panel will examine the state of legal deserts and explore the different solutions being used to lessen their impact. Danielle Hirsch, Managing Director of Court Consulting at the National Center for State Courts; David M. Majchrzak, Deputy General Counsel at Klinedinst Attorneys; and Michele Statz, Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Law School, will explore how lawyers, justice workers, and state bars are tackling the problems of legal deserts.

Danielle Hirsch

Danielle Hirsch is the Managing Director of the Court Consulting Division at the National Center for State Courts. In that capacity, Danielle is working to develop, guide and implement policies and procedures of court consulting operations to ensure success, high-quality work. In addition, Danielle has a professional focus on access to justice initiatives. She leads several large national access to justice projects for NCSC and serves as lead staff for the new $11M Eviction Diversion Initiative, and the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators’ Access and Fairness Committee, the Post-Pandemic Planning Technology Supergroup, and the Blueprint for Racial Justice’s Improving Diversity of the Bench, Bar and Workforce Working Group. In addition, Danielle is the co-creator and a co-host of Tiny Chats.

Before joining NCSC, Danielle was the Assistant Director of Civil Justice Division of the Administrative Office of Illinois, where Danielle was responsible for leading and managing the judicial branch’s work to promote, facilitate and enhance access to justice in Illinois with a particular emphasis on efforts to remove barriers and increase the ease of interacting with courts by persons who cannot afford lawyers to represent their interests and needs.  Before joining the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts, Danielle served as the Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice and the Director of Advocacy at The Chicago Bar Foundation. Among many highlights of her work, Danielle developed and managed an innovative new program, Illinois JusticeCorps, which places college and law students in courthouses to provide procedural assistance to people without lawyers. At the beginning of her career, Danielle clerked for the Honorable William Wayne Justice of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas and Justice ZM Yacoob of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

Danielle brings a broad range of relevant experience to the NCSC. Danielle has authored numerous articles in law reviews, bar journals and other publications and frequently is called upon to speak at legal, academic, and nonprofit meetings and events.

David M. Majchrzak

David M. Majchrzak is a seasoned ethicist, civil litigator, and certified specialist by the State Bar of California in legal malpractice law, is listed in Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers, and is rated AV®-Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell. He is a shareholder, who works primarily out of Klinedinst PC’s San Diego office, serves as the firm’s Deputy General Counsel, and chairs the firm’s writing committee and attorney training college. Mr. Majchrzak represents clients in matters involving attorney and law firm risk management, discipline defense, and legal malpractice claims. And he has served as an expert on legal ethics issues.

Mr. Majchrzak devotes a substantial portion of his career to counseling his clients on how to achieve their professional goals in an ethical way. For lawyers and firms with or without general counsel, he helps navigate the often complex ethical waters of the legal profession. Mr. Majchrzak performs law office risk management assessments, trains law firm staff in ethics requirements, and advises on a variety of topics. These include conflicts of interest, fees and billing requirements and dispute handling, trust account procedures, internal and departing lawyer compensation, law firm advertising and online marketing efforts, engagement and common interest agreements, non-engagement and disengagement protocols, attorney-client privilege/confidentiality analyses and protection, subpoena response, multi-jurisdictional practice, lawyer mobility, and ancillary business ventures.

Mr. Majchrzak is active and widely visible within the legal ethics community. Mr. Majchrzak served as the co-chair of California Lawyers Association’s first Ethics Committee and as a member of the organization’s Future of the Profession Task Force; and he co-chaired 2022’s annual meeting. He currently serves as the secretary of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, the chair of the ABA working group on Model Rule 5.5, a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism, a member of the editorial board of the ABA/Bloomberg Law Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct, a liaison to the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, and a member of the ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility Planning Committee. Mr. Majchrzak also served as a three-year member of the State Bar of California’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct, and chair of its outreach committee; and is a past chair of the San Diego County Bar Association’s Legal Ethics Committee. In 2015, Mr. Majchrzak revived the then-abandoned Ethics Quarterly, and has continued as one of its two editors. He has also taught professional responsibility as an adjunct law school professor.

Mr. Majchrzak is also active within the general legal community. In 2022, he served as the president of the San Diego County Bar Association. Mr. Majchrzak has also been active within the American Inns of Court. He served for four years as president of the William L. Todd, Jr. chapter and two years on the national program awards committees. Presently, he serves on the executive committee for the Law Practice Management and Technology section of California Lawyers Association. He has also served as an officer of the Association of Discipline Defense Counsel, a judge for Teen Court, an attorney instructor for mock trial competitions, a director of the Kiwanis Club of Poway, and in various other voluntary professional and community roles.

Michele Statz

Michele Statz is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She is affiliated faculty with the University of Minnesota Law School and the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center and is also an Affiliated Scholar with the American Bar Foundation. Michele is trained as an anthropologist of law and is a leading researcher in rural and Indigenous access to justice. Her work has appeared in Law & Society Review, Harvard Law & Policy Review, and the American Journal of Public Health, among others. It is generously funded by the National Science Foundation. Michele is the co-founder of the Law and Rurality Collaborative Research Network, and she is a member of the Federal-level Rural Justice Task Force and the National Advisory Council for Frontline Justice.

Michele’s other ongoing work includes interdisciplinary and mixed-media projects on global youth and mobility (www.youthcirculations.com); reproductive justice; working-class identity; rural housing precarity; and immigration lawyering. Her first book, Lawyering an Uncertain Cause: Immigration Advocacy and Chinese Youth in the U.S. (Vanderbilt U Press), was published in 2018. Statz holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology and a graduate certificate in Comparative Law and Society Studies from the University of Washington.