Focus on addressing service gaps for basic, essential legal services including family law, wills, employment, housing and consumer issues
Develop and expand alternative ways to get legal help including different kinds of professionals, partnerships or ways of doing business
Make legal aid available to more people and for a wider range of legal problems
Emphasize the responsibility of lawyers and paralegals to fill access to justice gaps
Meeting legal needs is a combination of maintaining critical core services and developing new ways to meet emerging needs, connect with under-served communities and expand services. This includes delivering legal help in language that people understand, in locations and on technologies they use. Meeting legal needs means expanding and innovating legal services while also maintaining existing legal aid and pro bono services.
Meeting legal needs also requires finding ways to deliver legal services in difference languages, reflecting different approaches to dispute resolution, available across big distances. Technology and creativity are being used to meet the same range of needs in remote and rural communities as in cities.
In 2020, many legal services faced an initial period of adjustment when in-person services, including courts, moved online. However, it quickly became clear that legal services were more urgent than ever. Individual lawyers, private and public legal services found new ways to meet with clients, connect with each other and protect individual legal right in this new virtual environment. As the pandemic continued and people faced the serious consequences of job loss and housing instability, legal services and clinics have offered new services. Throughout all of this adjustment, people’s ongoing legal issues, unrelated to the pandemic continued. Legal services evolved to meet all of these type of legal needs over the year.
© 2019 Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters