American Bar Assn. President Criticizes U.S. Legal System As Backward, Resistant to Change

“We need new ideas,” said Martinez. “We are one-fifth into the 21st century, yet we continue to rely on 20th-century processes, procedures and regulations. We need to retain 20th-century values but advance them using 21st-century approaches that can increase access to justice.”


Patricia Barnes
February 3, 2020

Tags: Access to Justice

Organizations mentioned/involved: American Bar Association (ABA)


Martinez expressed frustration with resistance in the legal profession to state-level efforts to innovate in the provision of legal services.

It may be no coincidence that the California Judicial Council last fall rejected proposals to permit “educated technicians” without law degrees to offer limited legal services and to allow non-attorneys to have an ownership stake in law firms.

Martinez said the aim of reform is not to eliminate lawyers but to “help lawyers lead changes that are sweeping all economic sectors of society.”  She said states should serve in the role the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis described as “laboratories of democracy.”