Is it time for mandatory pro bono?
Friday, October 07, 2011
- Organization: The National Law Journal
"The U.S. legal system is facing a crisis of unparalleled proportions that threatens the heart of our democracy — our commitment to the rule of law, our courts and our legal profession. The gap — more accurately now a chasm — between the need for legal assistance and the availability of free legal services for the poor has been repeatedly documented in legal needs studies and most recently highlighted by The New York Times. With the spike in the U.S. poverty population resulting from the Great Recession and the precipitous drop in funding and staffing of legal services programs, it's likely that the documented 80% of low-income Americans without access to a lawyer has grown to an unthinkable 90%. Today, poor families in the wealthiest nation in the world — and moderate-income people as well — have a far better chance of winning the lottery than of finding the justice we promise our people."
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