Access to Justice movement in the US

Within the last fifteen years, a broad access to justice movement has emerged at the state level, including state supreme courts, access to justice commissions, bar associations, self-help centers, technology initiatives and researchers on delivery of legal services. This movement seeks to provide access to courts and other adjudicatory bodies to achieve equal justice for all. This includes millions of individuals and families that are not eligible for civil legal aid. In addition to civil legal aid programs, this movement involves other providers of civil legal information and assistance and a range of initiatives to improve access to and effective functioning of state courts.

This movement seeks 100% access to effective assistance to address civil legal needs. The Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators at their joint meeting in July 2015 adopted Resolution 5 specifically supporting “the aspirational goal of 100 percent access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs,” urged “their members to provide leadership in achieving that goal and to work with their Access to Justice Commission or other such entities to develop a strategic plan with realistic and measurable outcomes,” and urged “the National Center for State Courts and other national organizations to develop tools and provide assistance to states in achieving the goal of 100 percent access through a continuum of meaningful and appropriate services.”

A comprehensive “access-to-justice system” focuses on state courts and administrative agencies as well as prevention of disputes, and numerous matters that are not necessarily handled in courts. Its goal is not solely access to courts but providing equal justice for all.

Related oral histories

Asher, Jonathan — Interviewed by Alan Houseman, 2016 Nov 09
Key player in ABA. Chaired IOLTA commission, member of SCLAID, etc.

Bamberger, James — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2016 May 12
Director of the Washington State office of civil legal aid.

Bergmark, Martha — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2015 May 15
Director of Voice for Civil Justice.

Brooks, Terry — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2016 Nov 09
Staff director of the legal services division of ABA.

Edelman, Peter — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2015 Apr 02
Chair of the DC Access to Justice Commission. Major player in ATJ nationally.

Flynn, Mary – Interview by Alan Houseman, 2018, Nov. 10
California State Bar.

Glaves, Bob — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2016 May 11ATJ
Chicago council of lawyers. Major player in ATJ nationally.

Greenberg, Danny – Interview by Alan Houseman, 2018 May 11
Member of SCLAID, etc.

Hecht, Nathan — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2015 May 07 ATJ

Hornsby, Will — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2016 May 12
Staff director of the ABA delivery committee.

Livingston, Lora J. — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2015 May 07
Chair of SCLAID.

Powers, Lonnie — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2016 May 13

Scudder, Steve- Interview by Alan Houseman 2018 May 10
Staff director of the ABA pro bono commission.

Torres, Betty — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2015 May 07

Groudine, Bev – Interview by Alan Houseman, 2018 May 10
Staff director of the ABA IOLTA commission.

Zelon, Laurie — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2014 Oct 07

Zorza, Richard — Interview by Alan Houseman, 2017 Oct