Are Americans making under $50,000 a year compelled to navigate the legal system on their own, or do they simply give up because they cannot afford lawyers? We know anecdotally that Americans of median or lower income generally do without legal representation or resort to a sector of the legal profession that - because of the sheer volume of claims, inadequate training, and other causes - provides deficient representation and advice. This book poses the question: can we - at the current level of resources, both public and private - better address the legal needs of all Americans? Leading judges, researchers, and activists discuss the role of technology, pro bono services, bar association resources, affordable solo and small firm fees, public service internships, and law student and nonlawyer representation.
Foreword; Overview; Overview; Beyond elite law: editors' introduction; Part I. Current State of Access to Legal Services by Working Americans: 1. Access to civil justice in America: what do we know?; 2. Life in the law-thick world: the legal resource landscape for ordinary Americans; 3. The need for a national civil justice survey of incidence and claiming behavior; 4. When does representation matter?; 5. Bankruptcy's false start: self-representation and the dismissal of chapter 7 cases; 6. Race and representation: racial disparities in legal representation for employment civil rights plaintiffs; 7. The unemployment action center: a student-driven response to legal need; 8. Immigrant representation: meeting an urgent need; 9. Reform at the crossroads: self-representation, civil Gideon, and community mobilizations in immigration cases; Part II. Sources of Legal Services Assistance for Working Americans: 10. The evolution of legal services in the United States: from the war on poverty to civil Gideon and beyond; 11. The effect of contingent fees and statutory fee-shifting: two models of alternative attorney-payment devices; 12. The market for recent law graduates; 13. Clinical legal education and access to justice: conflicts, interests, and evolution; 14. Loan repayment assistance as a means of promoting access to justice; 15. Federally-funded civil legal services for low-income Americans; 16. New York's lawyer referral services; 17. The growth of large law firm pro bono programs; 18. Institutionalizing pro bono; 19. Pro bono as a second career; 20. Employer-provided legal services for employment claims; 21. The Verizon pro bono program; 22. Individualized justice in class and collective actions; Part III. Fashioning a Reform Agenda: 23. Task force to expand access to civil legal services in New York; 24. New York's fifty-hour pro bono requirement for new lawyers; 25. Starting a 'low bono' law practice; 26. Toward a more effective and accessible solo and small firm practice model; 27. Facilitating homemade wills; 28. Court facilitation of self-representation; 29. Limited representation and ethical challenges; 30. Technology can solve much of America's access to justice problem, if we let it; 31. Mediation of employment disputes at the EEOC; 32. AAA consumer arbitration; 33. Saturns for rickshaws - lessons for consumer arbitration and the access to justice; 34. Employment arbitration in the securities industry; 35. FINRA arbitration and access to justice in employment disputes; 36. Arbitration as an employee-friendly forum; 37. Access to justice in employment arbitration; 38. Collaborative technology improves access to justice; 39. Union representation in employment arbitration; 40. Legal representation for New York City's Chinese immigrant workers: the role of intermediate institutions; 41. Reassessing unauthorized practice of law rules; 42. The Pyett protocol: collectively-bargained grievance-arbitration systems as a forum for individual statutory employment claims; Part IV. Creating a Culture of Service: 43. Integrating pro bono activities with the law firm's business; 44. Facilitating law firm pro bono transactional matters; 45. What bar associations do and can do to improve access to civil justice; 46. The teaching law office: service and learning in the law school years; 47. The emergency-room law school clinic; 48. CUNY Law School's community-based and community-empowering clinics; 49. A new law school in Texas to address unmet legal needs; 50. Public service residency program in lieu of the third year of law school.