Access to Justice

206 ABA Journal Access to Justice articles.

BigLaw firms and legal clinics join ACLU in initiative to stop racism in policing
Large law firms and legal clinics are partnering with the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana in its campaign "to dismantle racially discriminatory policing practices."
Another state cancels its July and September bar exams because of COVID-19 concerns
In light of COVID-19 concerns, Kentucky canceled on Thursday its July and September bar exams, which would have been in-person tests. The state now plans to use the National Conference of Bar Examiners remote test, which is scheduled for early October.
How the Washington Supreme Court’s LLLT program met its demise

The state supreme court’s Limited License Legal Technicians initiative won over the state bar’s board of governors, as the panel unanimously approved a resolution indicating its strong endorsement of the rule. But in a stark 180-degree turn, the limited license program rapidly lost the support of the bar’s board and the court as the makeup of both bodies changed.

Do police union contracts inhibit reform?

Few, if any, unions have as much power in bargaining for discipline, internal investigation stipulations and conditions of employment as police do, say labor lawyers interviewed by the ABA Journal. And although complaints about police union contracts are not new, the criticisms have amplified since May, following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Small businesses have COVID-19 questions, and the legal profession is working to answer them

Small businesses are struggling. It’s been more than three months since the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to shut down, send their employees home and get by on little-to-no income. “I think a lot of people, even as many big law firms and others put out webinars, still have questions that are personal to their organization and their business,” says Lana Kleiman.

New York court system’s admin board lifts ban on law firm trade names
The New York court system’s administrative board has lifted the ban on law firms advertising their services under trade or domain names.
ABA commission gets behind movement to open homeless courts across the country

When asked about the importance of homeless courts, Jeff Yungman’s thoughts go to a sick man who was living in the woods and panhandling on the streets. He received several citations for blocking the sidewalk, which came with fines and fees he would never be able to pay. “Having people like him, we can see why the homeless court is needed and why he probably still would be in the woods if there hadn’t been some intervention for him,” Yungman says.

Defense lawyer who didn’t probe death-row client’s bad childhood was deficient, SCOTUS says
A defense lawyer who failed to investigate his capital client’s tumultuous childhood provided ineffective assistance of counsel, the U.S. Supreme Court held Monday.
State chief justice urges courts to ‘provide equal justice for all’ and join ‘a battle for the nation’s soul’
The first black Connecticut Supreme Court chief justice sent a letter to employees of the state’s judicial system Tuesday, urging them to “double and even triple our efforts to provide equal justice for all those that we serve.”
Washington Supreme Court sunsets limited license program for nonlawyers
The Washington Supreme Court will "sunset” the state’s Limited License Legal Technicians program that has permitted nonlawyers to perform some legal tasks within family law.
Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and America’s cruel justice equation

“Change must come, not just through outrage but by powerful, countervailing forces. Every state needs strong and enforced hate crime laws, prosecution of police officers who abuse their power, and top-down political resolve that this will not be tolerated,” writes the ABA Journal’s Liane Jackson.

California bar gives approval to broad sandbox proposal
The State Bar of California’s board of trustees approved the most ambitious of three regulatory sandbox proposals to test new and innovative ways of delivering legal services it considered during its meeting Thursday.
Hope for nonprofit law firm model remains despite closing of Open Legal Services

When nonprofit law firm Open Legal Services ceased operating last year, the news sent a shudder through the nonprofit legal world and raised questions about whether the nonprofit model could work for other firms.

Could Zoom jury trials become the norm during the coronavirus pandemic?

Just weeks ago, the idea might have seemed inconceivable. Now, as remote meetings using videoconferencing tools such as Zoom become a regular fixture in courts, some are concerned that virtual trials would deprive defendants of the constitutional right to confront witnesses, an impartial jury, due process of law and effective counsel.

Law firms are seeing major slowdown in business because of COVID-19, data shows
The shock to the global economy stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic has produced a 40% drop in the number of new legal matters being opened each week in the U.S. compared to late February, according to cloud-based company Clio’s recent analysis of data from its practice management software.

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