April 30, 2021
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Session Type: Works-in-Progress
Session Capacity: N/A
Changing Every Wrong Door into the Right One: Barriers to Justice and Empowerment in Traditional Legal Service Intake Models
When a person is faced with a legal emergency, rarely is there an equivalent to a hospital’s emergency room for an immediate diagnosis and subsequent assistance. For a person living in poverty, finding legal help becomes a burdensome process of navigating a complicated web of legal services where each office has its own procedures and protocols. While intake protocols are well intentioned, they have unintended consequences for the client.
Professor Adawi argues that the process to find an attorney is unintentionally riddled with invisible barriers that resemble red-tape bureaucracy rather than empowerment and access to justice. I highlight four flaws in how legal service intakes are implemented. First, legal services are a complicated web of varying providers, making it challenging for a client to find the right office for their needs. Second, conflict rules, while well-intentioned, often inhibit a client from finding counsel. Third, in legal services there is little transparency around case acceptance. Fourth, a low-income client has no choice in who actually represents them unlike a client with means who seeks out a specific attorney.
I examine the consequences of these flaws in the context of the goal of empowerment and access to justice. I review one solution: a collaborative intake and triage model piloted in Washington, DC. I analyze how this model addresses some of these barriers and how it can be a blueprint for legal services delivery reform.
Low-Income Litigants in the Sandbox: The Necessity for Empirical Data to Evaluate Emerging Technologies in the LegalTech A2J Market
Claire Johnson Raba, UCI Consumer Law Clinic
A regulatory experiment is happening in a vacuum without adequate data against which to measure its effects. In an effort to increase access to justice, states are re-envisioning the provision of civil legal services to try to close the justice gap and are considering significant changes to regulations governing the unauthorized practice of law to spur innovation and market development of new legal technologies (LegalTech). Professor Johnson Raba's paper proposes legislative and regulatory changes regarding access to state court record data so new technology can be empirically measured against existing legal aid and self-help services. Through analysis of results of state public records act requests, this paper demonstrates the problem of a lack of aggregated, anonymized data necessary for empirical study of the efficacy of new LegalTech tools, proposing that any regulatory framework governing the provision of LegalTech services for unrepresented litigants must include mandatory reporting from state courts of case data with specificity and granularity sufficient to devise empirical studies to measure the outcomes from the use of these tools.
Organization: University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Organization: Saint Louis University School of Law
Organization: University of California, Irvine School of Law
Organization: City University of New York School of Law
Fees information is not available at this time.