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National Meeting of State Access to Justice Commission Chairs

Topical Breakouts - Morning Round

Topical Breakouts - Morning (10:15 - 11:30 am)

Why Strategic Planning is Important for ATJ Commissions
Room: 231
Strategic planning is critical to ATJ Commission programmatic success. Different from classic operational plans, the strategic variety involves vision, mission and outside-of-the-box thinking. It describes where you want your ATJ Commission to go, not necessarily all of the specifics of how you're going to get there. In this session, panelists will discuss the experiences of the Illinois ATJ Commission and the Tennessee ATJ Commission with regard to strategic planning processes and lessons learned. This session is aimed to be conversational, with plans to engage with other ATJ Commissions about their strategic planning experiences and challenges.

  • Bob Glaves, Executive Director, Chicago Bar Foundation
  • Danielle Hirsch, Assistant Director, Civil Justice Division, Admin. Office of the Illinois Courts
  • Anne-Louise Wirthlin, ATJ Coordinator, Admin. Office of the Tennessee Courts

A Messaging Roadmap to Build and Intensify Support for Civil Justice Reform and Civil Legal Aid [Please note that this file is extremely large due to embedded video and audio and may take a few minutes to download.]

Room: 320
Relying on the latest opinion research from Voices for Civil Justice, participants in this session will be introduced to messaging principles and a simple four-part messaging formula that together provide a roadmap to build and intensify support for civil justice reform and civil legal aid. Participants will use the formula to improve on a sample message and to practice drafting a message that supports one of your state's access to justice commission goals.

  • Martha Bergmark, Executive Director, Voices for Civil Justice

Moving Toward Justice For All: Lessons Learned from Both JFA-Funded and Independently-Resourced Strategic Action Plans
Room: 331
Following the CCJ/COSCA Resolution 5 calling for meaningful access to justice for all, the Public Welfare Foundation launched a project to support efforts by the states to include all relevant stakeholders in the civil justice community, and beyond, in a partnership to better understand, adopt, and move toward implementation of the resolution. Twenty-five states responded to the call to action. Seven states received funding from the Public Welfare Foundation and Kresge Foundation to develop Strategic Action Plans (SAPs) to provide all residents access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs. Additional states moved forward independently, with guidance from the JFA Advisory Committee. This panel will present and discuss the array of approaches taken, common themes found across the SAPs, and how to begin implementation once an SAP is in place.

  • Tom Clarke, Vice President of Research and Technology, National Center for State Courts
  • Hon. Ralph Gants, Chief Justice, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Portals and Chatbots and AI, Oh My! Latest Technology Tools for 100% Access
Room: 316
This session will explore how Access to Justice communities can use the latest technology as tools to move toward 100 percent access. Speakers will describe the latest technological developments, as well as emerging changes in the legal market. These include: mobile first strategies, machine learning and AI in triage, online dispute resolution (ODR), virtual unbundled practices, and how to ensure all of the new technology tools in this sphere promote justice for all.

  • Ed Marks, Executive Director, New Mexico Legal Aid, Inc.
  • Glenn Rawdon, Senior Program Counsel for Technology, Legal Services Corporation
  • Angela Tripp, Project Director, Michigan Legal Help Program

Resource Development: Staying Focused on Expanding Funding in Distracting Times
Room: 216
ATJ Commissions are a great vehicle for developing a coherent narrative, bringing the right players into the room and executing strategy on multiple fronts. This session will explore the ways that ATJ Commissions, in partnership with other entities, operate to build support for legal aid. In this session we will talk about how a Commission stays focused on growing its resources – including when financial and political circumstances shift quickly. What resources are most important to develop? What messages can be delivered in a simple manner to build these resources? What steps can your ATJ Commission take right now in light of the changing landscape in your state and in our country? This session will explore these topics and more.

  • Meredith McBurney, Resource Development Consultant, ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives
  • Marilyn Smith, Director of Civil Justice Programs, Indiana Bar Foundation
  • Betty Balli Torres, Executive Director, Texas Access to Justice Foundation

Tales from the Courtroom Innovations and Self-Help Services Capacity-Building Group
Room: 318
The Courtroom Innovations and Self-Help Services Capacity Building Group focuses on substantive learning for Commissions focused on service delivery innovations for self-represented litigants and vulnerable populations. In this session, hear from three commissions about specific work undertaken by their commission and future plans. Round out the discussion with an insight generally into the types of programs and initiatives all of the participating commissions undertake or are working on currently. Participants will walk away with an understanding of the breadth of projects that a Commission can champion and will be able to develop target initiatives to accomplish strategic goals in access to justice service delivery.

  • Renee Danser, Deputy Director/Zorza Fellow, Self-Represented Litigation Network
  • Nancy Drane, Executive Director, District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission
  • Hon. Maria Araujo Kahn, Justice, Connecticut Supreme Court

How Your Access to Justice Commission Can Support and Encourage Pro Bono at Every Stage of An Attorney's Career
Room: 217
Using examples from Massachusetts, New York, and North Carolina, this session will explore how to successfully build a pro bono culture that is designed to attract and keep attorneys engaged at all points along their career continuum. Panelists will discuss how Access to Justice Commissions work with and develop programming to encourage law students, young attorneys, disengaged attorneys, and retired attorneys, to do pro bono.

  • Susan Finegan, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.; Member, Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission
  • Lillian Moy, Executive Director, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York
  • Sylvia Novinsky, Director, North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center of the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission