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Harrison Tweed Award

Current Award Winners

The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense
& The National Legal Aid and Defender Association
Congratulate the Winner of the 2023 Harrison Tweed Award!

Louisiana State Bar Association

The Louisiana Access to Justice Commission, (ATJ Commission) a standing committee of the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA), launched a project in 2022 called Legal Help Access Points as a means of identifying and ridding Louisiana of its "civil legal resource deserts." The project began with a comprehensive statewide assessment and strategic planning process during which the LSBA and ATJ Commission underwent an in-depth study to understand the legal needs of the community, assessing current legal resources available in Louisiana, ascertaining where those resources were located, and identifying challenges to access them as well as opportunities for growth. The result was a powerful new Geographic Information Systems visual mapping tool to demonstrate the layered barriers to accessing legal help in Louisiana. The ATJ Commission used these findings to identify and prioritize a long stretch of civil legal resource deserts along the Mississippi Delta in Northeast Louisiana where 50% or more of the population earn income at or below the poverty line and have the least access to broadband internet. With initial findings in hand, the ATJ Commission developed a diverse Steering Committee and worked in tandem to design Legal Help Access Points, which would be piloted in these areas to bring free, accessible civil legal resources to trusted community establishments. As designed, a Legal Help Access Point is a private space - either a private room or a telephone booth-style pod - equipped with desk, computer, printer, mic, and earphones that provides community members with easy-to-use technology to access a continuum of options for legal help. Another important feature of the Access Points includes the availability of pertinent, concise materials and resources that community members could walk away with in-hand to help learn more about their legal issues. In August 2022, Legal Help Access Points were launched in libraries in Lake Providence and Vidalia, Louisiana. In January 2023, an Access Point was launched in the LaSalle Community Action Association in Harrisonburg, Louisiana. Since their launch, the three Legal Help Access Points have assisted a combined total of 310 community members with their legal issues. The LSBA and community partners also developed a series called "Law Talks," quarterly one-hour virtual information sessions about legal issues pertinent to Access Point users or the general public, livestreamed on the LSBA’s Facebook page. Access Point partners host in-person “watch parties” for these webinars, and all libraries throughout Louisiana are invited to join the Law Talks. The first series of Law Talks has seen over 430 viewers and covered topics surrounding: divorce, child custody, succession, and Social Security Income and Disability and Medicare and Medicaid.

To view the Louisiana State Bar Association nomination, click here.

Award Resources