NY Chief Judge Calls for ‘Systemic Approach’ to Provide Lawyers for the Poor

  • Print.

New York’s chief judge called Monday for a “systemic approach” to provide lawyers for the poor when basic needs are at stake.

Judge Jonathan Lippman said he will hold hearings on the idea this fall, the New York Times reports. He will use the information to propose a plan that outlines the kinds of cases where representation should be required and what financing would pay for it.

“I am not talking about a single initiative, pilot project or temporary program,” Lippman said, “but what I believe must be a comprehensive, multifaceted, systemic approach to providing counsel to the indigent in civil cases.”

According to the Times, “The speech may well give Judge Lippman national prominence in efforts in recent years by lawyers for the poor, consumer advocates and some legislators around the country to expand the right to a lawyer.” In a 2006 resolution, the ABA endorsed a right to a lawyer in civil cases when basic human needs are at stake. The proposal is known as a “civil Gideon” for the U.S. Supreme Court case that found a right to counsel for defendants facing possible jail time.

Lippman was appointed last year to replace Judith Kaye when she was forced to step down under mandatory retirement rules.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “California Will Pay Lawyers for Poor in Eviction, Custody Cases”

ABA Journal: “Finding New Ways to Help”

ABAJournal.com: “Legal Assistance Lawyer Calls for ‘Civil Gideon’ in N.H.”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.