The Role Law Schools Should Play in Filling the Justice Gap
In the article, details about the current need for legal services in the United States are provided. For example, in 2010, nearly one in seven Americans lived below the poverty line, the highest proportion in nearly two decades. As the number of people living in poverty continues to increase, the number of people needing legal assistance also continues to grow. What is startling is that only about twenty percent of the legal needs of low-income people are being satisfied. One reason for this is that a total of less than one percent of the nation’s legal expenditures is given to legal aid and public interest legal organizations.
After the need for legal services is discussed, the article explores the possibility of requiring lawyers to perform pro bono work and why some lawyers oppose having a mandatory pro bono requirement in their jurisdiction. The reasons these lawyers oppose mandatory pro bono work range from ethical concerns to complaints that constitutional rights are being violated when a mandatory requirement is imposed. Furthermore, a current look at how the states approach mandatory pro bono is provided.
Next, the article examines how law schools can make a difference in meeting the needs of the underserved in our communities. The different pro bono models implemented by law schools in the United States are also detailed. Suggestions are provided as to how law schools should go about selecting the right program for their school. Then, reasons are given as to why students should perform pro bono work. Finally, an overview of some unique law school programs currently offered to benefit the underserved is provided.
Karen Millard. 2012. "The Role Law Schools Should Play in Filling the Justice Gap" ExpressO
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/karen_millard/1