Louis M. Brown Award

Brown Select

The ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services may, in its sole discretion, cancel, rescind, suspend, withhold, or otherwise limit or restrict this Award.

The nominees provided the materials used to create the descriptions on this page. They do not represent the opinions of the ABA or its Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services.

How Does it Work?

1. Each year, programs and projects submit nominations for the Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access

2. The Delivery Committee decides the winner of the Brown Award, but votes from the public (YOU!) determine which nominee will receive the BROWN SELECT recognition.

2019 Nominees

1. Concord Law School

In 2017, Concord Law School at Purdue University Global became the first online law school in the country to join a legal incubator through the Lawyer Entrepreneur Assistance Program (LEAP), operated by the Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) The goal of the collaboration with LEAP is to help overcome cost and geographic barriers to access to justice, while encouraging the development of graduates' virtual and/or traditional law practices. Concord is the first and only online law school to participate in LASOC's LEAP initiative. LEAP is designed to give participants practical hands-on experience as well as financial and technical support to launch their own solo practice and build their client base. In exchange, participating graduates give back by contributing to the society's pro bono work in the community. All members are expected to provide one hundred hours of pro bono work over the course of the year, using technology to provide remote access to resources previously only available to onsite participants. Participants also join LASOC's lawyer referral service, which connect those who do not qualify for free legal services with lawyers who are willing to offer discounted services for modest means clients. In addition, there are currently seven California-licensed Concord participants that are delivering unbundled legal services as appropriate.

2. Loyola Univeristy New Orleans College of Law Incubator Program

In 2015, the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law announced its inaugural group of participants for the Loyola Incubator Program, an intensive, yearlong mentorship and skills program for recent graduates which addressed the unmet legal needs of poor or moderate-income individuals in the Greater New Orleans community. Currently, the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Incubator Program is comprised of six individually practicing lawyers, who are alumni of the College of Law and who have been practicing for 2–5 years. They represent clients with a range of legal issues such as domestic and family matters, immigration, criminal defense, and the tangled legal issues that arise when people cannot afford or cannot find representation. Incubator lawyers often accept matters that other lawyers in the community decline. If not for our Incubator lawyers, many people would be forced to cede their legal rights or proceed pro se. Through its incubator program, Loyola graduates are able to explore new areas of law, build their practices, and represent limited-means members of the Greater New Orleans community. In return, Incubator lawyers complete 600 hours of pro bono service in the first 18 months of the now 24-month program. The program serves approximately 90–100 people per year, or approximately 1,440 hours per year.

3. Baylor Law Legal Mapmaker

Introduced in 2016, Legal Mapmaker is a Baylor Law School program designed to prepare young lawyers to open law firms, and to help the public find affordable legal services. Through attendance at a two-day conference, lawyers learn how to design a law firm utilizing the Legal Mapmaker template to create low overhead that is far less expensive than traditional methods of running a law firm. In addition, lawyers also learn how to develop a sustainable practice by offering flat fee and alternative fee arrangements to clients who fall into the justice gap.

Legal Mapmaker currently covers 18 legal topics, and the training covers all the areas necessary to operate a successful, efficient and economical firm. Legal Mapmaker is available to any lawyer for $20, as long as he or she agrees to take on a pro bono case within a year. Thus far, more than 150 individuals have been served.

4. Yocum Law Office

Yocum Law is a socially conscious law firm that provides proactive legal education and accessible legal services to individuals and like-minded businesses. Not only do they offer flexible and affordable attorney fees for low to middle income individuals, but, in an effort to reach more individuals in need, they partner with local employers and non-profits to provide legal education workshops and brief advice clinics to their employees and clients. Their mission is to make sure that everyone has access to legal representation and that every person can make informed decisions about their future, with a solid understanding about their legal rights. At this time, Yocum Law Office is working on expanding its reach with the development of a mobile legal clinic, in the hope of reaching the rural and underserved areas of Ohio.

5. Text A Lawyer

Text A Lawyer is squarely aimed at becoming the starting place for legal users of moderate means. Its user-friendly apps for Android and iOS keep it simple with a single option: Hire an attorney for $20. Ask follow-up questions for $9, and receive a full transcript afterwards. Not only does Text A Lawyer help people make informed life decisions at a price they can afford, but its quality assurance system rewards lawyers who provide answers that help people apply the law to their lives. In addition to providing legal assistance to the public lawyers are able to earn reasonable fees using Text A Lawyer while pre-screening high-quality clients for their practice.

Currently, the app provides Oregon lawyers for Landlord/Tenant issues. However, in 2019 it plans to scale its operations, offering twelve additional legal categories with a strategic plan to include states to the east.

6. Bridge to Justice

Bridge to Justice is a 501(c)(3) Colorado nonprofit organization that provides civil legal services to low- and moderate-income Coloradans who do not qualify for free legal aid. As an impact-oriented social enterprise, their mission is to bridge the gap between legal needs and legal access with affordable, high quality legal services. Bridge to Justice assists primarily with divorce, child custody and civil protection order cases, including post-decree modifications and enforcement of parenting time and child support which tend to be high conflict and often lead to adverse childhood experiences for the minor children.

7. Court Square Law Project

Court Square Law Project (" CSLP") began operations on February 1, 2016. Created by the New York City Bar ("City Bar"), the City University of New York School of Law (“CUNY”), and 19 of New York's leading law firms, CSLP seeks to close the justice gap while preparing new lawyers to enter a changing profession. Court Square was established as a pilot project to "design and test a mission-driven, commercial business model to deliver a defined set of legal services to people who can afford to pay something, but who do not have practical access at the present time to such services at an affordable rate." CSLP offers full-representation by admitted attorneys in the areas of family law, housing, small business litigation, entity formation, estate planning, and adult guardianship. CSLP trains new attorneys in the practice of law and the fundamentals of operating a solo practice. CSLP charges sliding scale hourly rates with rates starting at $80 an hour up to a maximum of $185 an hour. CSLP's goal is to be a self-sustaining through its own fees. In the past six months, CSLP has covered 60 percent of its operating costs through its fees and is on track to becoming self-sustaining at the end of the pilot project in 2020.

Award Resources