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May 06, 2019

Kentucky chief justice, legal services activists top agenda at ABA/NLADA conference

CHICAGO, May 6, 2019 — More than a thousand stakeholders involved in efforts to expand access to justice nationally for underserved U.S. residents will explore strategies and issues for improving delivery of legal services at a May 8-11 conference in Louisville, Ky., sponsored by the American Bar Association in conjunction with the National Legal Aid & Defender Association.

For the first time this year, the ABA National Meeting of State Access to Justice Commission Chairs has been integrated into the main conference.

2019 Equal Justice Conference (EJC)National Meeting of State Access to Justice Commission Chair

Wednesday-Saturday, May 8-11

Louisville Marriott Downtown
 280 W Jefferson St.
Louisville, KY 40202

During the last two days of the main conference, the two events will run concurrently, with several joint sessions and other programs open to attendees of either group. The opening session of the Equal Justice Conference will feature ABA President Bob Carlson as well as an update on the state of Medicaid from Jane Perkins of the National Health Law Program.

Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton and Kentucky Associate Justice Michelle Keller will deliver keynote remarks at a session of the National Meeting of Access to Justice Commission Chairs that begins at 1:40 p.m. Friday in Kentucky Ballroom Salon E.

Other notable participants will be Legal Services Corporation President James L. Sandman, who will participate on EJC panels on Thursday at 10 a.m. on “Hot Topics in Civil Legal Aid” in Kentucky Ballroom Salon F and at 1:30 p.m. on “Educating Legislators about Legal Aid 2.0” in Marriott Ballroom Salon 9.

Also, Rebecca Sandefur, a University of Illinois associate professor of sociology who last year was selected for a MacArthur "Genius" Grant for her access to justice research, will participate in a panel titled “Ambiguous Results, Political Fallout, and Other Fears: Working with Academics to Research the Impact of Legal Services,” at 10 a.m. Thursday in Marriott Ballroom Salon 4; and at a second panel, “Making Effective Use of "Nonlawyer" Navigators in State Courts: an Emerging Consensus,” on Friday at 3:45 p.m. in Kentucky Ballroom Salon D.

The programming will tackle a wide-range of issues at the forefront of the equal justice and access to justice areas. Among the programs are:

“Strategic Planning and Justice for All: Getting Every Person the Legal Help They Need” — With the Justice for All initiative entering its third year, more than seven states have undertaken planning and implementation activities. This session will explore successes and failures encountered by Access to Justice Commissions, and how strategic planning has affected the narrative of civil justice in their respective states.

Friday, 3:45-5:15 p.m., Kentucky Ballroom Salon D

Ensuring Access to Justice in Rural Areas” — Recent scholarship and data on the rural access to justice crisis have drawn out lessons for the legal community, and increased national attention to the plights of rural communities drives momentum for initiatives that aim to address those plights. The panel of public interest attorneys and educators working on behalf of rural communities will share the latest research on rural access to justice, discuss challenges of providing for legal needs in rural areas, and highlight many innovations in rural practice.
Friday, 10:15-11:45 a.m., Marriott Ballroom Salon 7

Responding to the Opioid Crisis and Helping Crime Victims: Civil Legal Aid and Federal Funding” — Legal aid providers help an array of victims. Legal aid also has a critical role to play helping children and their caregivers when a parent has a substance use disorder, and in helping people with their recoveries. This session will provide a general overview of federal funding opportunities with a focus on the opioid crisis and crime victims.
Thursday, 3:30 – 5 p.m., Bluegrass 2

The Equal Justice Conference, sponsored by both the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and the NLADA, is an annual gathering of legal services and pro bono advocates to share and learn about developments and innovations in providing legal services to low-income persons.

The National Meeting of State Access to Justice Commission Chairs, sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, is the preeminent national gathering of access to justice commission members and other stakeholders.

The Equal Justice Conference schedule can be found online. The access to justice meeting schedule can be found here.

Media who want to cover any event should register in advance. To register, please contact Bill Choyke at 202-662-1864 or [email protected].

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews