April 21, 2019
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Tags: Access to Justice
Organizations mentioned/involved: Voices for Civil Justice
“American voters really have very little concept of what the civil justice system even does … or what civil legal aid is and why it matters,” she told Law360 in a recent interview.
This lack of awareness hits close to home for Bergmark, whose 45-year career has included starting a Mississippi legal aid office, working at the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association and running the LSC. Her current project, Voices for Civil Justice, is a “national communications initiative” that aims to raise the profile of civil legal aid by helping journalists and advocacy groups highlight flaws in the civil justice system.
The idea is to make people as upset about low civil representation rates as they are about high criminal incarceration rates. Last month, Voices launched All Rise for Civil Justice, a platform providing stories of people about the people enmeshed in the world of bankruptcy, debt-collection, divorce, tenant-landlord disagreements, child custody battles, benefits challenges and more.
Bermark spoke with Law360 about her take on the funding battle at her former post and why projects like All Rise for Civil Justice are crucial to getting the word out about the struggles of those who face everyday legal problems without lawyers to help them.