CHICAGO, May 5, 2022 — The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association will convene their annual Equal Justice Conference May 12-14, with several dozen programs focusing on a wide range of topics, including eviction, relocation of Afghani refugees and racial disparity.
Equal Justice Conference (EJC)
May 12-14, 2022 (all times CDT)
1001 Marquette Ave. South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403
This year’s EJC conference marks the first in-person event since 2019 and will feature Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Anne K. McKeig, who will deliver remarks during the opening plenary on Thursday, May 12, at 8:30 a.m. Also, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., will speak via a recording and Minnesota Lieutenant Gov. Peggy Flanagan will also appear at the opening session.
Legal Services Corp. President Ronald Flagg will participate in-person on a panel titled, “Educating Legislators About Legal Aid 2.0,” on Friday, May 13, at 8:30 a.m. The panel will include LSC grantee representatives and others who will discuss efforts to educate federal and state legislators and their offices on supporting legal aid.
“The ABA is pleased to join our partners nationally and in Minnesota to bring back an in-person Equal Justice Conference,” said ABA President Reginald Turner, who will speak at a May 13 lunch. “The past couple of years have placed an unprecedented strain on our country’s justice system, exposing its existing disparities and forcing us to look more closely and deliberately at the delivery of civil legal services. This conference joins all components of the civil legal aid community and furthers the work of so many to deliver assistance to underserved populations.”
April Frazier Camara, NLADA president and chief executive officer, will also speak at the May 13 lunch. She noted that her group has a long relationship with the ABA in access to justice issues.
“For more than 20 years, EJC has provided a space for advocates representing the full array of civil legal services and pro bono providers, partners and supporters in the movement for access to justice,” she said. “We are honored to be in Minneapolis this year, which is now known as the birthplace for the new movement for racial justice in America. We are excited about centering the important issue of racial equity in the national dialogue at EJC regarding access to justice.”
The meeting comes two years after a summer of civil unrest in 2020, sparked by the homicide of George Floyd in Minneapolis as well as other incidents during that year. One panel, “Community Coming Together to Respond to Civil Unrest,” will look at how a community can respond to a civil crisis through the lens of the Minneapolis-St. Paul response to the riots that destroyed thousands of small businesses. That program is on Thursday, May 12 at 11:45 a.m.
Other programs of interest are:
- “A Holistic Approach to Housing Justice” — Evictions ruin families financially, devastate communities and disproportionately affect people who are marginalized by poverty. This session looks at programs through Legal Services Alabama, which provides multifaceted advocacy approaches to housing justice during a public health crisis.
Thursday, May 12, 1:30 p.m.
- “Arizona’s Licensed Legal Advocate Pilot: The Nation’s First Pilot Delivering Nonlawyer Legal Advice to Underrepresented Litigants” — Innovation for Justice (i4J), with the Arizona Supreme Court and Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse, launched the first pilot in the nation to train and license nonlawyer domestic violence advocates to provide limited-scope legal advice. The session focuses on the access to justice gap as it relates to survivors of domestic violence and the opportunity for community-based service providers to meet that gap, among other issues.
Thursday, May 12, at 3:45 p.m.
- “The Afghanistan Humanitarian Crisis and Collaborative Responses” — Minnesota has received more than 1,000 evacuees from Afghanistan. Collaboration among state, refugee resettlement and legal services agencies is critical so that people’s legal and other needs are met. This program provides a case study of Minnesota’s response to this humanitarian crisis and how structures can be established for long-term collaboration.
Saturday, May 14, 8:30 a.m.
The entire EJC conference program can be found online here. All sessions are open to the media, but reporters are required to register in advance by 4 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 9, by contacting Bill Choyke at [email protected]. All attendees must provide proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the start of the meeting. Once you have requested registration, confirmation and further COVID-related instructions will be sent to you by email.
The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers 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.