Civil Rights

Former ABA President Zack to Lead Access to Justice Group; 'Justice Index' Among Its Projects


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Photo of Steve Zack
by Neal Brederick

Immediate-past ABA President Stephen N. Zack will continue to promote access to justice as the new chairman of a national advocacy group.

Zack has been named chairman of the National Center for Access to Justice, a nonpartisan advocacy group based at Cardozo Law School in New York City, according to an ABA press release. One of the National Center’s projects will be a new “justice index” to highlight the quality of justice delivered by the states.

NCAJ director David Udell co-wrote an article about plans for the index in the National Law Journal last December. The index would use objective criteria to evaluate access to justice. “For example, do courts have sufficient resources for translators and to hold jury trials?” Udell writes. “For criminal cases, how many days are people held without counsel? How many clients does a lawyer represent at one time? How much does it cost to be caught up in a civil or criminal case? Are communities providing the resources needed by the justice system?” A justice index, Udell concludes, would help court officials explain to lawmakers why they need more funding.

As ABA president, Zack founded the ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System to call attention to problem of court underfunding. Access to justice was one of four of his presidential initiatives. He is administrative partner at Boies, Schiller and Flexner.

“The rule of law begins with one word: access,” Zack says in the press release. “We cannot fight to establish the rule of law around the world yet be at risk of losing it at home.”

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