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January 28, 2021 National Meeting of State Access to Justice Commission Chairs

Topical Breakouts - Afternoon Round

Topical Breakouts - Afternoon (1:00 - 2:15 pm)

Fines and Fees: Why the Issue Belongs on Your Agenda
Room: 217
Across the country, millions of people who are convicted of minor traffic and municipal code violations, misdemeanors, and felonies are charged a fine as punishment and then taxed with fees used to fund the justice system and other government services. Those who cannot afford to immediately pay the full amount face additional fees, license suspensions, loss of voting rights, and – far too frequently – arrest and jail. This breakout session will make the case that fines and fees is an access to justice issue by providing an overview of the problem of fines and fees in the justice system, describing reform efforts around the country, and highlighting the example of the Illinois courts' approach to change.

  • Hon. Lisa Foster, Co-Director, Fines and Fees Justice Center; Former California Superior Court Judge
  • Danielle Hirsch, Assistant Director, Civil Justice Division, Admin. Office of the Illinois Courts

Incubating Innovation in Alaska and Hawaii: New Developments in the Justice Portal Initiative
Room: 331
Justice communities in Alaska and Hawaii are partnering with LSC, Microsoft and Pro Bono Net on a pilot project to develop statewide online justice portals to help people navigate to the right legal resources. The goal is to leverage technology to enable justice community partners to collaborate in new and creative ways to provide some form of effective assistance to everyone with a civil legal problem. This workshop will highlight findings from user immersion studies in each state, intersections with Justice for All initiatives, and developments in the project's cutting-edge technology strategies.

  • Nalani Fujimori Kaina, Executive Director, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii
  • Liz Keith, Program Director, Pro Bono Net
  • David Heiner, Strategic Policy Advisor, Microsoft Corporation
  • Stacey Marz, Director for Self-Help & Language Access Services, Alaska Court System
  • Glenn Rawdon, Senior Program Counsel for Technology, Legal Services Corporation

Prioritizing Communications: Audience-Specific Messaging Strategies
Room: 318
In the Access to Justice world, there are a variety of stakeholders with whom we should communicate. To reach each stakeholder effectively, however, requires a variety of strategies targeted to their unique needs and interests. Using examples of place-based, campaign-based, and identity-based messaging, this session will explore the process of prioritizing communications strategies responsive to targeted stakeholder audiences.

  • James Kowalski, Jr., Executive Director, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid
  • Mike Monahan, Pro Bono Director, State Bar of Georgia Pro Bono Resource Center
  • Jared Smith, Programming and Engagement Associate, North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center of the NC Equal Access to Justice Commission

ATJ Year in Review: Strides in Building Out the 100% Access Continuum
Room: 320
This session will provide a review of the emerging trends in access to civil justice innovations in the courts, legal aid and the bar. It will include highlights of the role of triage, technology and user centered co-design that are meaningfully contributing to building a continuum of services so that every person gets the legal help they need, when they need it and in a format they can use. Attendees will leave the session with ideas of projects and focus for their jurisdictions in the coming year.

  • Renee Danser, Deputy Director/Zorza Fellow, Self-Represented Litigation Network

Implementing a LAIR Program at the State Level: Organization, Strategy and a Progress Report PowerPoint Presentations by:
Karen Lash
Hon. Lawrence Winthrop
Lorin Kline
Room: 216
The federal Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (LAIR) launched in 2012 to raise federal agencies' awareness of how civil legal aid can help advance a wide range of federal objectives, including opportunities to secure housing, healthcare, employment, education, and improve family stability and public safety. Several states (including Arizona, California, Hawaii, Mississippi and Wisconsin) are currently working to adapt at the state level the federal approach of focusing on executive branch agencies to enhance the effectiveness of government programs by partnering with legal aid. This session is designed to identify goals and potential roadblocks and discuss strategy and first steps for states to consider.

  • Hon. Mark A. Juhas, Judge, Superior Court, Los Angeles County; Chair, California Commission on Access to Justice
  • Lorin Kline, Directing Attorney, Legal Aid Association of California
  • Karen Lash, Practitioner-in-Residence and Director, Justice in Government Project at the American University Justice Programs Office
  • Hon. Lawrence Winthrop, Judge, Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One; Chair, Arizona Commission on Access to Justice

Mind the Gap: Who is Addressing Issues at the Intersection of Criminal and Civil Law?
Room: 316
The ripple effect of a criminal conviction can impact access to basic needs for far longer than the prison sentence or probation period. Child support accrued during jail time may trigger suspension of a driver's license, making it difficult to work to pay off the arrearage. A plea bargain that avoids incarceration may still cause loss of housing. Where can those affected turn for help? This session will discuss the work being done by Access to Justice Commissions in Massachusetts, Louisiana, and Tennessee to examine issues at the intersection of criminal and civil law, identify gaps in our system, consider root causes, and propose systemic improvements. Presenters will share initial findings and invite discussion of other approaches.

  • Amy Duncan, Access to Justice Training and Projects Counsel, Louisiana State Bar Association
  • Hon. Ralph Gants, Chief Justice, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • Anne-Louise Wirthlin, Access to Justice Coordinator, Admin. Office of the Tennessee Courts

ATJ Commission Funding, Staffing, Structure and Planning
Room: 231
This facilitated, interactive discussion will both review how Commissions have remained vibrant and explore how they can formally plan and continue to support new initiatives. Topics will include funding, staffing, strategic planning and best practices for keeping your Commission moving along. We'll take a deeper dive into nationwide research on staffing and funding for Access to Justice Commissions. And we'll share tips and tools from North Carolina, Maine and Washington followed by an opportunity to broadly share best practices and work though challenges together.

  • Mary Lavery Flynn, Consultant, ABA Resource Center on Access to Justice Initiatives
  • Jennifer Lechner, Executive Director, North Carolina Access to Justice Commission
  • Hon. Andrew Mead, Justice, Maine Supreme Judicial Court
  • Diana Singleton, Board Manager, Washington State Access to Justice Board