Blog Post (NATIONAL)
Above the Law
October 6, 2015
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Tags: Access to Justice
Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (LAIR)
Well, did you notice above that I said the new Presidential Memorandum *formally* establishes LAIR? That’s because it turns out that LAIR has actually *informally* existed since 2012. And, according to the Department of Justice, in its three years of existence it has not been idle. Justice touts an array of improvements, research, and information-sharing, which collectively were deemed valuable enough by the legal aid community that LAIR’s co-chairs received the 2014 Government Service Award from the National Legal Aid & Defender Association. And on his Access to Justice blog, attorney-commentator Richard Zorza has written that a core LAIR product — the “LAIR Toolkit” — is a “major breakthrough.”
So it sounds like additional White House attention to the plight of legal aid attorneys and their clients may indeed be a good and useful thing. And in any event, this new, formally established version of LAIR bears watching. Perhaps it will achieve another major breakthrough (actually, more like a miracle) and identify a stable and adequate source of funding for all civil legal aid and indigent criminal defense throughout the country. One can dream.