The ABA’s annual National Meeting of State Access to Justice Commission Chairs ("2022 ATJ Chairs Meeting") was held online as a series of five, 90-minute, live CLE Webinars during the period of December 12-14, 2022. The webinar recordings are available for On-Demand purchase and CLE credit at the ABA’s online CLE Marketplace; see the links to purchase each individual webinar below, along with a detailed agenda with descriptions and speaker information for each individual webinar.
No "One Size Fits All:" International, National and Local Perspectives on Access to Justice
Viewing timeworn problems from a fresh perspective can be an important key to essential change and better outcomes, and sharing different points of view with an open mind can help identify how to enable greater access to justice. A critical component of that conversation is the experience of legal service providers. These professionals see first-hand the impact that good representation can have for those who cannot otherwise afford an attorney, as well as the poor outcomes when representation is lacking. Another critical component is an outside view from interested observers, who offer valuable insight on how to further promote access to justice. This session will provide international, national, and local perspectives on access to justice in the United States, recognizing that one size does not fit all. The discussion will highlight how access to justice advocates have expanded their reach and delivered change with limited means and while facing significant obstacles. This session covers the key areas required to understand the complex issues in play, including collecting and sharing data to identify specific areas of need; building a business case; fostering collaboration among agencies and partners; and launching cost-effective initiatives during and post-pandemic.
- Judge Samuel A. Thumma (Moderator), Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One
- Mahesh Rengaswamy, Senior Director of Digital Courts Strategy, Thomson Reuters
- Chief Justice Shannon Bacon, New Mexico Supreme Court
- Karen Gorham, Superior Court Administrator, New Hampshire Judicial Branch
- Lorna Cservenka, Barrister and former Family Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year, Garden Court Chambers, London, England
Community Navigators on the Frontlines: Using Legal First Aid to Expand Access to Justice
Community-based navigation work is a critical upstream component of a thriving legal ecosystem, and one that expands access to legal protections for communities experiencing poverty across the country. With proper training and support, community navigators present a unique opportunity to address the Access to Justice problem. Navigators can help build legal literacy and improve clients' abilities to identify, understand, and effectively respond to legal issues. This session will explore opportunities to leverage non-lawyer allied professionals to strengthen the legal ecosystem in varied jurisdictions across the country, including in California, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. The session will include practical information and best practices, to include community-driven program design, funding, and sustainability. The session will involve a facilitated Q&A encouraging participants to think about how they might set up a community navigator program in their state, and what role the Access to Justice Commission can and should play. Participants will also be involved directly throughout the session. Participant involvement throughout the session will include polling.
- Kate Crowley Richardson (Moderator), Co-Executive Director, Legal Link
- Sacha Steinberger, Co-Executive Director and Founder, Legal Link
- Katie Dilks, Executive Director, Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation
- Tanina Rostain, Professor of Law, Georgetown Law Center
Eviction Diversion Programs: A New Frontier for Access to Justice
During the Covid-19 pandemic, state courts across the country moved quickly to adopt temporary rule changes and launch new programs designed to keep people housed during a time of crisis. A combination of state and local moratoria and federal rental assistance funds spurred courts into action, and the results were remarkable. Now, housing courts have become the next frontier for access to justice reforms. As courts adapt their eviction diversion programs and refine their rule changes, housing courts have become dynamic places where access to justice initiatives can thrive. The National Center for State Courts, through its Eviction Diversion Initiative, works with courts across the country to design permanent, sustainable eviction diversion programs. Each program combines outreach and communications strategies; court reform initiatives and rule changes; and partnerships with legal, financial, and human service providers to create user-centered, holistic courtrooms designed to resolve housing disputes in the least harmful way.
Eviction diversion programs combine many different access-to-justice strategies to transform the court experience for all users. This session will cover the best practices for eviction diversion programs and offer specific examples from around the country of new rules, resources, and partnerships that can be replicated in both other courts and other areas of law to further access to justice. Throughout the session, an open dialogue with the attendees will be encouraged to discuss similar efforts that are already happening in their states and/or possible strategies that may be ripe for exploration in their respective jurisdictions.
- Samira Nazem (Moderator), Principal Court Management Consultant, National Center for State Court
- Judge Kimberly Bacon, Small Claims Court, Lawrence Township, Indiana
- Will Walker, Eviction Diversion Staff Attorney, Alaska Court System
- Rae Kyritsi, Programs Manager, Center for Conflict Resolution
Community-Centered and Movement Lawyering Approach to Bridging the Criminal and Civil Legal Services Divide
Advocates in Washington state have long recognized that the systems responsible for delivering legal services to those with civil and criminal legal needs are deeply siloed from one another. The impact of these siloed systems falls heavily and disproportionately on BIPOC and other marginalized communities across the state. In Washington, lawyers have historically failed to practice holistic methods of providing legal services to clients; however, it is well known that civil legal aid problems impact individuals’ criminal cases and vice versa. These siloed systems create accessibility issues for clients, resulting in the increased likelihood that the legal needs of underserved and underrepresented communities are being left unaddressed and lead to compounding harm. This session will discuss the efforts of the Washington Access to Justice Board to address the criminal and civil divide in that state by integrating an intersectional lens and leaning into movement lawyering principles.
Movement lawyering recognizes that civil justice system actors have a wealth of knowledge and skills to navigate the complexities of the legal landscape, but that to truly transform systems and shift power, they need to center, build with, and be accountable to community-led BIPOC movements. This approach acknowledges that there will be tensions throughout the process as each community is unique and complex, and in this session, attendees will be polled regarding the hurdles and challenges they have faced while attempting to address the civil and criminal divide where they live, as well as lessons learned about best practices. Further, this approach recognizes that the experiences of both individuals and communities are not monolithic, and that the challenges faced in the work vary widely depending on the histories of communities in the geographical area of advocacy. By intentionally engaging with diverse stakeholders who are often left out from sharing perspectives, experiences, and ideas, lawyers are better able to move towards a more equitable and transformative outcome.
- Francis Adewale (Moderator), Public Defender, Spokane Office of Public Defense
- Paige Hardy, Equity & Leadership Facilitator, JustLead Washington
- Michaela Brown, Equity & Leadership Facilitator, JustLead Washington
- Prachi Dave, Policy and Advocacy Director, Public Defender Association
Increasing Access to Justice, Language Access and Court Efficiency Using Plain Language Services
Effective language access and simplification of court policies and procedures cannot be accomplished without the use of plain language (PL). The experienced panelists in this session will focus on the following topics: the critical role of PL in increasing access to justice, language access, and court simplification; how PL saves time and money for court systems; how PL supports the Conference of Chief Justices' Resolution 5: In Support of Implementation of Clear Communications and Streamlined Procedures in the Courts; how the use of PL increases trust and confidence in the courts; and the importance of ensuring the use of good PL.
- Judge Fern Fisher (Moderator), Visiting Professor, Hofstra Law School
- Julie Clement, President, Clarity
- Maria Mindlin, Plain Language Expert, Transcend