Interview (New York)
NYU School of Law
March 17, 2014
Link to story
Tags: Courts, Pro Bono, Unbundling
New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman ’68 has been a passionate advocate for civil legal services and equal access to justice since becoming the head of the state judiciary in 2009. He has pushed for publicly funded civil legal services for the poor, a 50-hour pro bono requirement for law students seeking bar admission, mandatory reporting of pro bono service, a rethinking of the current legal curriculum, and the use of non-lawyer advocates to support unrepresented litigants.
The fact that we have been able to obtain so much public funding for legal services—by far the most in the country—shows that we have helped our partners in government understand that legal services for the poor are every bit as important as the other priorities of life, like housing, education, or medical care. Civil legal services are not just another form of public philanthropy. As a result of that understanding by both our partners in government and the bar, we have received wide support.
I believe in not shrinking from being bold, trying new things, and not necessarily waiting to see what others are doing. On issues that are fundamental to equal justice, I do not think we have to stop and take a vote on how to proceed. You have to lead. If you are going to wait to get everyone’s agreement before you do anything, you are not going to get anything accomplished.
Link to full story Story has video of lecture (1 hour 17 minutes).