Small Steps Towards Big GoalsNSRLP
We are continuing our series that publicizes developments significant to Access to Justice and in particular to SRLs. With a goal as big as Access to Justice, we believe that all incremental steps should be promoted as widely as possible.
- The SRL game being developed at NuLawLab at Northeastern University has attracted a great deal of interest among SRLs. NSRLP has now connected NuLawLab with 50 SRLs who will be testing the game in the coming months. For further information, contact Executive Director Dan Jackson at email@example.com
- As well as our news item about a new unbundled legal services network in Toronto (“The Self-Rep Navigators”) there are more encouraging signs that lawyers are embracing “coaching” for family and civil SRLs, an idea originally developed from the 2013 NSRLP Research Report and in Julie’s blogs. See for example Joel Miller’s The Family Law Coach and Andrew Feldstein’s Family Law Group. While comprehensive legal services are best, we realize that not everyone can afford that. When 80 per cent of Family Law litigants are self-represented, clearly many Canadians cannot afford full representation,” says Andrew Feldstein. “And some assistance from a family law lawyer is better than none at all. Clients can purchase only those services they choose—or the services they feel they can afford—and do the rest themselves.”
- In other encouraging news regarding unbundled services for SRLs, IAALS (the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System) and AFCC (the Association for Family Conciliation Courts) have launched a template letter that family court judges might direct to SRLs about availing themselves of local unbundled legal services. . Discussions are underway with Ontario judges about using the letter.
- And in yet more good news about uptake of interest in unbundling among members of the Bar, the LSUC offers a continuing professional development (CPD) seminar October 26 on unbundling for family lawyers, chaired by Justice George Czurtin and Janet Whitehead, former President of the CDLPA. More information at https://ecom.lsuc.on.ca/cpd/product.jsp?id=FINCLE15-0100700. Apparently over 500 lawyers are already signed up. If you have news about CDP in your area on this topic, please let us know so that we can promote.
- After a failed attempt to raise annual Bar dues in order to increase legal aid funding in Florida (http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2015/sc14-1165.pdf) the Florida Access to Justice Commission has come up with some initial recommendations to try to expand legal aid in that state (http://devlamp2.flabar.org/wordpress/flaccesstojustice/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2015/10/Florida-Commission-ATJ-Interim-Report.pdf). One that may have some “legs” is to expand the pro bono work of “emeritus attorneys” — retired practitioners, judges, or law professors — who will be permitted under a revision of Rule 12 of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar to offer advice and assistance to clients who are not engaged in litigation – that is, to act as settlement counsel. This is in addition to litigation-related work that presently requires the supervision of another lawyer.