The National Center for Access to Justice (NCAJ) uses data, research, policy analysis and advocacy to expose how the justice system fails to stand up for equal justice and, all too often, functions as a source of oppression. Our work is rooted in the principle that all people should enjoy access to justice, which we describe as the meaningful opportunity to be heard, secure one’s rights and obtain the law’s protection. Our current projects include the following:
The Justice Index – Relying on data and rankings to prompt adoption of best policies for access to justice (Overview, here).
- Event, Justice Index Attorney Count with Q&A, describing NCAJ’s research project to count all the civil legal aid organizations in the US and all of their attorneys (2019)
- Video, ABA Pro Bono Publico Award, telling the story of the Justice Index on the occasion of the ABA’s award to NCAJ’s team of law firms, law schools, and corporate counsel (2017)
Fines & Fees Project – Building a consensus on best policies for reducing reliance on fines and fees to fund government, and expanding the Justice Index to replicate those policies in all states.
- Project Description, describing the work ahead and inviting stakeholders to offer feedback on provisional best policies (2019)
New Models, Including New Roles for Non-lawyers – Enabling residents of vulnerable communities to secure legal advice from non-lawyers (including neighbors, social workers, and others) by adjusting scope of “unauthorized practice of law rules.”
- Comment, Supporting authorization of non-lawyers by California State Bar, supporting the Bar’s Recommendation 2.0 to develop and test new roles for non-lawyers (2019)
- Video, Building the Justice System Reform Movement, presenting IGNITE Talk to Access to Justice Commission Chairs (2019)
- Article, Building the Access to Justice Reform Movement, describing civil justice reform as the next front in the criminal justice reform movement (2019)
- Event, A2J Summit at Fordham Law School, convening national leaders to envision goals for a unified civil and criminal justice system reform movement, producing the A2J Summit Collection (2018-19)
- Video, Dahlia Lithwick, Slate Senior Reporter, host of Amicus Podcast, on access to justice, the rule of law, and NCAJ (video and transcript) (2018)
- Video, Op-Ed.TV!, speaking on civil justice reform with Bob Herbert in television interview (2017)
- Video, Civil Right to Counsel Conversation for New York State Bar Association at Cardozo Law, moderating panel with electeds and reformers (2017)
- Video, Where the Civil and Criminal Justice Systems Meet, moderating panel with chief judges, leading legal aid reformer and social scientist, on building a unified understanding of the civil and criminal justice systems, and their reform movements (2016)
- Video, Pro Bono & Professional Development Roundtable, describing pro bono in the U.S. in panel for National Association for Law Placement (“NALP”) (2013)
Tracking Outcomes: A Guide for Civil Legal Aid Providers & Funders – Using data to track effects of civil legal aid in people’s lives.
- Article, Focus on Client Outcomes, Says New Report on Legal Aid Data, covering NCAJ’s release of new guide for the civil legal aid community (2018)
AtJ Scholars Project – Gathering researchers (with NSF support) from across disciplines to build civil justice research.
- Article, David Udell Dishes on Growing Access to Justice Research, describing in Law360 interview the importance of research, the Justice Index, and the civil justice reform movement (2019)
- Event, AtJ Scholars Conference, partnering with professors Rebecca Sandefur and Alyx Mark, and the National Science Foundation, to convene social scientists across disciplines to expand civil justice research (2019)
Sustainable Development Goal 16 – Implementing in the US the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda which calls on all countries to use data to expand access to justice.
- Report, Access to Justice Indicators for SDG Goal 16 in the US, presenting a set of indicators to track and support civil justice in the U.S. in a collaborative effort with US Dept. of Justice, Columbia Human Rights Institute, and reformers (2016)