Blog Post (Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, NATIONAL, Nevada, New York, Texas)
Lonnie A. Powers
July 11, 2014
Link to blog
Tags: Funding: Federal, Funding: State & Local, Justice Gap, Pro Se/Self-Help, Technology
Organizations mentioned/involved: Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC), Legal Services Corporation (LSC), Texas Legal Services Center (TLSC), Civil Law Self-Help Center (NV)
Demand for civil legal aid continues to outstrip supply. Among attorneys and others in the field, this is known as the “justice gap.”
It’s clear that we will never close this gap unless our federal and state funders dramatically increase their support. In the meantime, we must also find ways to expand access to information that can help those in need. While there is no one way to do this, self-help legal centers and smarter use of technology are surely part of the solution.
Today, self-help centers and technology have radically reshaped the delivery of civil legal aid. There are now online sources of legal assistance in each of the 50 states that provide information on civil legal cases related to basic human needs.
Nothing can replace the value brought by a skilled attorney or advocate to civil legal issues affecting basic human needs such as housing, shelter, and family safety. But expanding access to information through the use of technology and self-help centers to meet rising demand must be a part of the solution to closing the justice gap.