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Improving Access to Justice: Technological Innovations and Legal Design

Ellyn S Rosen, Hallie Pope, Alexander Rabanal, and Tyler Holmes

The gap between those who can afford legal services and those who need them is stark. In the U.S. alone, a 2019 survey found that approximately two-thirds of Americans had experienced a legal problem in the last four years with only 49% of those problems having been completely resolved. Of the 260 million legal problems American experience each year, only 140 million are resolved or resolved in a manner perceived as fair each year. 

The problem doesn’t stop at the U.S.’s litigious shores, either. According to the World Justice Project (WJP), more than 5.1 billion people have at least one unmet justice need. In 2021, the WJP released a global Atlas of Legal Needs Surveys, which show how difficult ensuring “equal access to justice for all,” (SDG 16.3) will be. There are no quick fixes to the access to justice gap, but there are also almost no wrong answers for how to address the issue.

Fortunately, many different approaches have emerged to narrow the gap. They range from things you’ve likely heard of—new technologies, more robust law clinic offerings, and pro bono efforts like Free Legal Answers—to those you have not. This panel considers—across geographies and disciplines—ways in which we might fulfill the legal profession’s obligation to serve the public from the introduction of new legal professionals, regulatory sandboxing and reform, legal design, and technology.

Note: The content of this program does not meet requirements for continuing legal education (CLE) accreditation. You will not receive CLE credit for participating.

Program Materials

You can download the slides from this replay.