This week in Texas, we hope you will join us as NCAJ hosts two conversations about access to justice. The first will be on Tracking Outcomes from 4:15 to 4:45 pm on November 1, 2018. The second will be about Building the Civil Justice Reform Movement from 2:30 to 4:00 pm on November 2,2018. Both are part of the Annual Conference of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association in Houston, Texas. Here are descriptions of the events (from the conference program):
- Tracking Outcomes – If a mantra exists for using outcomes data to understand, improve, and explain the work of institutions, it is only now beginning to take root in the civil legal aid community. Among civil legal aid providers and funders who are enthusiastic about outcomes tracking, there is only the beginning of emerging consensus on best strategies and models. And among skeptics, there are continuing concerns about the burdens of collecting data, risks of over-relying on data, questions about the practical value of data, and more. To a large extent, the lack of clear consensus offers great room for progress. A new report from the National Center for Access to Justice at Fordham Law School captures perspectives of providers and funders on opportunities for unlocking the power of outcomes data today, working toward solving harder challenges in using outcomes data, and improving the quality of the outcomes data that is tracked. Join the discussion about leading edge topics concerning effective use of data, reporting on “big goals,” relying on “big data,” communicating with funders about what to track, reporting “systemic outcomes,” obtaining feedback from service recipients, partnering with courts, tracking holistic service, and understanding causation.
- Building the Civil Justice Reform Movement – We are seeing an expansion of the civil justice system reform movement that includes: research, legal representation, self-help, technology, communication, research, government support, political engagement, community empowerment, and judicial leadership. Yet most people are still unable to secure civil legal aid. Courts are struggling to preserve basic services. Non-lawyers are barred from helping people. Lives continue to be interrupted by a civil justice system that presumes equal power between parties and that directly and indirectly pushes people into homelessness, poverty, and even into the criminal justice system. To what degree does civil justice system reform prioritize racial justice, profile societal savings, and promise substantive justice in specific areas of law such as evictions, debt, jobs, family, and benefits? Is the movement successfully engaging activists in communities most affected by an unjust system? Is it enlisting the passion of leaders in all sectors of society, including students, social scientists, corporate leaders, government officials, and philanthropic leaders? Criminal justice system reform has a goal, a theory, a financial argument, criminology, books, television shows, films, litigation, and organizing. Join in discussing all of the elements essential to the success of the civil justice system reform movement. (The session will pursue ideas developed at an A2J Summit hosted in New York City by NCAJ on October 2, 2018 and described in NCAJ’s blog here).
More about the National Center for Access to Justice at Fordham Law School is available here.