by Tom Gordon
The MacArthur Foundation has announced the recipients of its 2018 MacArthur Fellowships, popularly know as “Genius Grants.” Among them is Rebecca Sandefur, a professor at the University of Illinois and a Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation. She’s also a member of our Policy Advisory Board.
Professor Sandefur’s work has focused on both quantitative and qualitative research of the civil justice system, providing great insight into the nature and extent of the shortfalls in providing access to justice that Responsive Law is attempting to remedy. The MacArthur committee notes that her work shows that “in most cases, the advantage of a lawyer relative to a lay person resides in an ability to navigate procedures and rules rather than in deep knowledge of the law. Her observations have led to the hypothesis that the gap in access to civil justice might be closable without lawyers.”
The MacArthur committee concludes its citation of Professor Sandefur by pointing out that she “is providing the empirical evidence necessary to guide and implement wide-scale reforms to address the civil legal needs of low-income people.” It’s actually not just low-income people, but people from across the economic spectrum that would benefit from reforms based on her work. Congratulations to Professor Sandefur on a well-deserved honor! I’m looking forward to more of her insightful work in the years to come.
by Jim DiFrancesco
Responsive Law recently submitted comments to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Discipline Committee (ARDC) regarding its study of how to regulate client-lawyer matching services. Client-lawyer matching services allow consumers to find lawyers that match the expertise needed for their case quickly and online, across multiple firms. The commentary focused on how both lawyers and consumers benefit from these services, and how regulation can be implemented to protect the interests of consumers while also promoting innovation and growth.
by Ridhi Shetty
After the State of Washington took several years to study its justice gap with little concrete action to bridge this gap, the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) Board of Governors continues to drag out the process ordered by the Washington Supreme Court in January 2018 to bring limited license legal technicians (LLLTs), limited practice officers (LPOs), and public members onto the Board.
by Richard S. Granat
The New York State Bar has withdrawn its proposed resolution regarding online legal document preparation from consideration by the American Bar Association House of Delegates because of widespread opposition by other ABA entities. These other ABA entities were not given notice of the proposed resolution and did not have sufficient time to develop their substantive positions and make their views known. However, the New York State Bar is intending to resubmit the same resolution to the House of Delegates for approval at the ABA mid-year meeting (February 2019) in Las Vegas.
Written by Ridhi Shetty
For-profit legal referral will be prohibited by a new proposed ethics opinion by the State Bar of Michigan Professional Ethics Committee that states that for-profit legal referral services violate fee-sharing prohibitions under the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct. Responsive Law has issued testimony opposing the proposed ethics opinion, urging the Committee to allow attorney participation in for-profit legal referral services to improve public access to justice.