Remedy for an Ailing Civil Justice System: Preventive Legal Care

Too many people are finding themselves alone in the courtroom in civil cases. Trust and efficiency in the civil justice system sink as a consequence.


Julia Huston
American Prospect, The
January 14, 2015
Full story

Tags: Access to Justice, Funding: IOLTA, Pro Se/Self-Help

Organizations mentioned/involved: Boston Bar Association


What if we recognized that people are more likely to be able to stay in their homes if they have access to adequate legal assistance for wrongful evictions or foreclosures, rather than spending millions of taxpayer dollars on shelters once people have lost their homes and have nowhere else to turn?

In Massachusetts, the Boston Bar Association (BBA), which I currently lead, recently released a Task Force report that shows that taking a preventive approach to legal issues, in the same way we do for public health, would help families, save government funds and ensure fairness in our justice system. That is, investing in civil legal aid programs can pay dividends by avoiding back-end costs, just as a vaccination or medication can keep a patient out of the emergency room.