Access to Justice

  • January 19, 2024

    New Mexico Judiciary Establishes Rural Clerkship Program

    The New Mexico Judiciary is launching a Rural Justice Initiative Clerkship Program, which creates four paid clerk positions for attorneys who will work with state judicial district chief judges.

  • January 19, 2024

    Baker Donelson Reinvests In ABA's Free Legal Answers

    Baker Donelson announced on Friday a monetary and resource investment into the American Bar Association's Free Legal Answers clinic, which the law firm helped establish a decade ago.

  • January 19, 2024

    Texas Non-Atty Ownership Plan Fizzles As Justice Gap Fix

    As the legal industry struggles to find ways to bridge the wide gap between those who can afford civil legal services and those who cannot, a proposal in Texas to allow non-attorney ownership of firms providing low- or no-cost services faces an uncertain future following opposition from lawyers who say it would create an ethical quagmire.

  • January 18, 2024

    AI Tool Updated To Help Immigration Attys With Legal Tasks

    The American Immigration Lawyers Association and software platform Visalaw.ai released an updated version of an artificial intelligence legal research tool that now has an expanded library and a document upload feature.

  • January 17, 2024

    Big Law Leans Liberal In Pro Bono Amicus Briefs, Study Says

    BigLaw firms don't usually advertise their political and ideological leanings, but a new study examining amicus briefs filed by the largest U.S. law firms on behalf of likely pro bono clients before the U.S. Supreme Court may offer new insights into which direction BigLaw firms tilt.

  • January 11, 2024

    Mich. Attys Can Now Pay For Pro Bono Clients' Travel, Clothes

    Lawyers in Michigan can give impoverished pro bono clients certain kinds of financial aid under a revision to the state's professional conduct code adopted by the Michigan Supreme Court. 

  • January 11, 2024

    NJ Jail Hit With Civil Rights Suit Over Inmate's OD Death

    The mother of a 31-year-old New Jersey woman who died of a drug overdose while in custody at a Garden State county jail has sued the county and its sheriff's department, alleging it knew about her history of substance abuse but failed to place her in a protected setting and adequately monitor her or her cellmates.

  • January 10, 2024

    Justices Toy With New Testimony Rule In Ariz. Expert Dispute

    The U.S. Supreme Court seemed to agree Wednesday that Arizona prosecutors violated a criminal defendant's Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses testifying against him by presenting a substitute expert witness at trial, and instead centered most of its questions on whether the court should revise its rule for identifying testimonial statements.

  • January 09, 2024

    NC Agency Sued Over Child Solitary Confinement Practice

    The North Carolina Department of Public Safety is violating the constitutional rights of children not convicted of crimes by locking them up alone every hour of the day with little to no relief from confinement, while breaking state law requiring education, according to a proposed class action filed in federal court Monday.

  • January 05, 2024

    The Issues Access To Justice Leaders Are Watching In 2024

    A surge in evictions, domestic violence and child poverty last year has heightened the demand for legal services to help low- and middle-income families, and worsened a shortage of attorneys to assist in matters ranging from housing to healthcare to benefits and beyond in 2024.

  • January 05, 2024

    Quinn Emanuel Aids 'Sewer Service' Debt Collection Fight

    Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP recently teamed up with two legal aid groups to notch a major win from a New York appeals court making it easier for consumers to challenge judgments they may have been hit with due to fraudulent service — or so-called sewer service — of debt collection complaints.

  • January 04, 2024

    5th Circ. Won't Block Miss. GOP Capital City Law Amid Appeal

    The Fifth Circuit on Thursday refused to temporarily block a controversial new Mississippi law that would give the majority-white state government greater control over the court system in the state's majority-Black capital city while the NAACP and other groups appeal, finding that they're not likely to succeed in their challenge.

  • January 04, 2024

    Nonprofit, Paralegals Sue To Take Down NC Legal Advice Law

    A North Carolina nonprofit is challenging a state law banning anyone but a fully licensed attorney from offering legal advice, saying in a federal lawsuit Thursday that the regulations amount to an unconstitutional restraint on free speech in violation of the First Amendment.

  • January 04, 2024

    Judge Lauds Trans Women Behind Colo. Prison Housing Deal

    A Colorado state judge on Thursday appeared inclined to approve $2.1 million in payouts for currently and formerly incarcerated transgender women and new housing options to settle their class action against state prison officials, with a named plaintiff calling the deal a "blueprint for other states."

  • December 22, 2023

    Biden Issues Pardons For Federal Marijuana Offenses

    President Joe Biden has announced unconditional pardons to anyone who has used, possessed or attempted to possess marijuana on federal lands, regardless of whether they have been convicted or charged.

  • December 20, 2023

    Pa. Justices Say State Must Notify Inmates Of Deduction Hike

    The State of Pennsylvania violated an inmate's constitutional right to due process by garnishing a larger portion of the wages and gifts he received without providing him notice or the opportunity to protest the change, the state's highest court ruled.

  • December 19, 2023

    NC Residents Ask For Cert. In Court Software Class Action

    A group of North Carolina residents have asked for certification in their proposed class action alleging the state's new digital court system has led to hundreds of wrongful arrests and detentions, with all facing common issues sufficient to satisfy class requirements.

  • December 15, 2023

    NJ Atty Changes History For Wrongly Executed Black Soldiers

    More than a century after 19 soldiers were hanged for mutiny following trials that were marred by racism, a New Jersey attorney and descendant of one of the servicemen recently helped convince the U.S. Army to overturn the soldiers' convictions.

  • December 15, 2023

    New Eckert Seamans Pro Bono Chair Looks To Build Bridges

    As he takes over as the new chair of the firm's pro bono committee, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC attorney Joshua Hill says he is looking to adopt a more holistic, firmwide approach to identifying and assigning pro bono projects.

  • December 15, 2023

    The Biggest Access To Justice Issues Of 2023

    High-profile death penalty cases, voting rights, civil forfeiture and fair pay for legal aid workers were among the biggest issues this year impacting the rights of disadvantaged people facing challenges in the American justice system.

  • December 14, 2023

    4th Circ. Pauses Fight Over SC Non-Atty Legal Advice Law

    The Fourth Circuit agreed Wednesday to pause a lawsuit brought by South Carolina's NAACP chapter challenging the legality of a state law that bars non-attorneys from giving legal advice while the merits of the NAACP eviction relief program at issue are under consideration at the state-court level.

  • December 14, 2023

    Attys, Advocates Urge NY Gov. To Sign Appeals Reform Bill

    More than 350 attorneys, advocates and organizations on Thursday urged New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill that will expand an appellate court's ability to examine if evidence in criminal cases was uncovered unconstitutionally by law enforcement.

  • December 08, 2023

    The Purgatory Docket: Mass. Judge Leaves Cases In Limbo

    A Massachusetts federal judge has dozens of long-unresolved motions on his docket, highlighting what experts say is a problem that is difficult to solve amid lifetime appointments, no firm deadlines to resolve civil disputes or any form of discipline for judges if cases stall unnecessarily.

  • December 01, 2023

    How Trauma-Informed Lawyering Can Help Clients Heal

    The story of an Olympic gymnast-turned-lawyer illustrates the emotional and psychological challenges that trauma survivors can face, how these challenges can play out in litigation, and how people who have experienced trauma can bounce back.

  • December 01, 2023

    Gibson Dunn Helps Vindicate LA Reporter After Protest Arrest

    Three years after a reporter with the Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate was tackled by sheriff's deputies and arrested while covering a protest, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP has helped secure a $700,000 settlement that the firm is hailing as a win for press freedom.

Expert Analysis

  • Meeting The Legal Aid Needs Of Human Trafficking Survivors

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    Human trafficking survivors have a wide range of unmet legal needs, but there are several ways law firms and attorneys can provide more comprehensive and trauma-informed support, say Sarah Dohoney Byrne at Moore & Van Allen and Renata Parras at Paul Hastings.

  • Broader Problems Remain After Justices' DNA Test Ruling

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    The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this week in Reed v. Goertz straightforwardly resolves a statute of limitations question on post-conviction DNA testing, but it does not address the underlying issue that judges remain hostile to granting access to new evidence of innocence, much less relief based on that new evidence, says Brandon Garrett at Duke University.

  • It's Time For Lawyers To Stand Up For Climate Justice

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    The anniversary this week of the Deepwater Horizon disaster offers an opportunity for attorneys to embrace the practice of just transition lawyering — leveraging our skills to support communities on the front lines of climate change and environmental catastrophe as they pursue rebuilding and transformation, says Amy Laura Cahn at Taproot Earth.

  • Lessons On Litigating Wrongful Death Cases Against The BOP

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    With the process of litigating wrongful death claims against the Federal Bureau of Prisons littered with roadblocks, attorneys at HWG share some key lessons for navigating these challenges to ensure families can pursue justice for loved ones who died in custody.

  • Eviction Cases Need Tiered Legal Help, Not Unlimited Counsel

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    The concept of right to counsel in civil cases, particularly in the context of evictions, is hotly debated, but rather than giving every tenant full representation regardless of the merits of their case, we should be focused on ensuring that everyone has the right amount of legal help, says Bob Glaves at the Chicago Bar Foundation.

  • US Self-Defense Law Is Neither Overly Harsh Nor Disappearing

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    The inaccurate caricatures of U.S. self-defense law distract us from engaging in a more fully informed debate about the appropriate role of, and justification for, self-defense in a modern, pluralistic society, says Markus Funk at Perkins Coie.

  • High Court Death Penalty Ruling Presents A Troubling Future

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    While the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Cruz v. Arizona — which said the Arizona high court misinterpreted state criminal procedure and warranted federal review was — came as a pleasant surprise in its prioritization of due process, the 5-4 ruling also portends poorly for the future with a low bar in death penalty cases, says Christopher Durocher at the American Constitution Society.

  • What Landmark Ruling Means For Civil Rights Suits In Nevada

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    The Nevada Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Mack v. Williams ends the use of qualified immunity in the state, and though the defense will likely be revived by the Legislature, the decision provides a framework for litigants to hold state actors accountable for violations of state constitutional protections, says Austin Barnum at Clark Hill.

  • We Can Ensure Public Safety And Still Reduce Incarceration

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    Recent progress toward reducing jail and prison populations remains fragile as tough-on-crime policies reemerge, but American history shows that we don’t have to choose between less violence and lower incarceration rates — we can have both, says Jeffrey Bellin at William & Mary Law School.

  • War On Drugs Is Cautionary Tale For Abortion Prosecution

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    As state abortion bans proliferate, prosecutors have an obligation to learn from the devastating lessons of the war on drugs — which disproportionately affected communities of color — and vow not to prosecute individuals’ reproductive health care-related decisions, says Dekalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston.

  • The Most-Read Access To Justice Law360 Guest Articles Of 2022

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    Law360 guest experts weighed in on a broad slate of emerging access to justice issues last year, ranging from evidence of ineffective counsel to opportunities for nonlawyers to provide legal help and the presumption of innocence.

  • Understanding Illinois' First-Of-Its-Kind Law Nixing Cash Bail

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    A new law taking effect Jan. 1 that makes Illinois the first state to eliminate cash bail has been amended to correct some of the many concerns of those who opposed the original, flawed piece of legislation that was rushed through, and will make sweeping changes to how criminal justice operates in Illinois, say Joe Tabor and Perry Zhao at the Illinois Policy Institute.

  • Defense Attorneys Can Help Limit Electronic Monitor Overuse

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    Though electronic monitoring is increasingly promoted as an alternative to incarceration for people awaiting trial, on probation or parole, or undergoing immigration proceedings, its effectiveness is unsupported by evidence and it results in clear harms, so defense attorneys should consider several strategies to challenge its overuse, say experts at the ACLU.

  • DOJ Can't Justify Its Failure To Get Data On Deaths In Custody

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    The U.S. Department of Justice incorrectly claims that a law requiring it to collect meaningful data on how many people die in government custody has somehow limited its ability to do just that — and every failure to study these deaths is a missed opportunity to prevent others, says David Janovsky at the Project On Government Oversight.

  • How Civilian Attorneys Can Help Veterans

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    With legal aid topping the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' annual list of unmet needs of veterans facing housing insecurity, nonmilitary volunteer attorneys can provide some of the most effective legal services to military and veteran clients, say Anna Richardson at Veterans Legal Services and Nicholas Hasenfus at Holland & Knight.

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