National Center for Access to Justice

Justice Index Project Advances, as Pfizer Inc and Dozens of Summer Associates, Pro Bono, Join Study of Self Represented Parties in Child Support Cases — See National Law Journal Profile

In summer 2013, the National Center for Access to Justice, in partnership with the Pfizer Inc and with the 15 law firms that comprise the Pfizer Legal Alliance, carried out a study of the role of Family Court Support Magistrates in child support collection proceedings involving self represented parents in Kings County Family Court in Brooklyn, New York.  

The Center began the study in light of  intense national  interest in identifying the steps courts should take (and in some instances are taking) to help parties who are unable to afford a lawyer.  John M. Greacen, of Greacen Associates LLC, consulted to the Center on the design of the study.  

As reported in this National Law Journal story, “The project is notable for its breadth — it counts participants from nearly every corner of the legal profession: a public interest law group; a major corporate legal department; 15 law firms; law students from across the country; the courts.”   38 law students and 20 lawyers carried out the observations and interviews for the study.

The study is part of a larger project the Center is pursuing, in partnership with Pfizer, and also in partnership with Deloitte, to develop an on-line Access to Justice Index that will rely on data to present a picture of elements of state based justice systems that are helping to assure access to justice.  

The courtroom observation instrument used by students to observe the activities of Magistrates is available here.  The separate instrument used by the law students to interview litigants is available here.  

For more information about NCAJ’s Access to Justice Index project, please visit the Center’s web site, here.

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