Full Report: http://board.calbar.ca.gov/docs/agendaItem/Public/agendaitem1000013003.pdf
The Civil Justice Strategies Task Force (“CJSTF”) has created a report that includes the following:
- · An Acknowledgment by Luis Rodriguez, president of the State Bar of California and Chair of the CJSTF
- · A brief introduction of the problem the task force set out to address
- · A summary of key recommendations to develop an action plan with steps that should be taken to fill the justice gap and achieve true access to justice in California
- · Excerpts from the testimony; and
- · Individual reports from each of the CJSTF subcommittees
Summary of Recommendations
The State Bar should study the design of a pilot program, in one subject matter area, and, with input from the Supreme Court, address how the governance, oversight, and “licensing” would be handled. It is important to allow the time for the Court to have input at the early stages, rather than after design is complete.
Now Group - The “Now” Group was tasked with a review other current access environment in order to identify what approaches are working now and what may be scalable or can be replicated.
“Now Group” Draft Recommendations
· Funding: recommend that the State Bar boost promotion of the Justice Gap Fund in order to increase donations to the fund by lawyers and law firms.
· Incubators/Modest Means: recommend that the State Bar track the trajectory of incubator participants; and recommend that the State Bar help create a framework (e.g., mentors, toolkits, forms, etc.) to assist modest means practitioners.
· Unbundling: recommend that the State Bar do more to promote and incentivize limited scope representation.
· Improved Coordination: recommend greater coordination between the State Bar and Judicial Council, including in efforts to link the various stakeholders involved in providing affordable legal services.
· Civil Gideon: recommend that the State Bar support efforts to secure universal representation starting with the following four areas: Land Lord / Tenant, Family, Domestic Violence, Immigration; and recommend that State Bar help to market what’s working in the pilot projects, publicly support them, and help to scale them.
New Group - The “New” Group focused on innovations that currently are being considered or implemented in other jurisdictions.
“New Group” Draft Recommendations
· Limited License Legal Technicians (LLLT): The State Bar should study the design of a pilot program, in one subject matter area, and, with input from the Supreme Court, address how the governance, oversight, and “licensing” would be handled. It is important to allow the time for the Court to have input at the early stages, rather than after design is complete.
· Alternative Business Structures (ABS): The State Bar should monitor the ABS concept in other jurisdictions, with particular attention to the impact on pro bono and public impact litigation in jurisdictions that adopt these practices. Until this information is available to consider and understand, the Bar should not proceed with new rules or programs.
· Re-engineering: recommendation for a pilot project, perhaps in landlord-tenant, using a joint working group of the bar, the courts, and perhaps relevant social scientists and tech people, to explore how the system could be redesigned to streamline the process, make it easier to use, and provide protection for the parties’ rights.
· Navigators: A program should be designed to be piloted in one or more self-help centers, to provide volunteer assistance to self-represented litigants in attending hearings. Permission should be requested to have the navigator sit at counsel table with the litigant, but not to address the court. Based on experience in other jurisdictions, the focus should be on this as a volunteer program, not as a for-profit method of assistance.
“Law School Debt” Group - This group examined the intersection of law school debt and access to justice.
Law School Debt Draft Recommendations
· Info Clearing house: The Bar should serve as a clearinghouse of information on student debt management and repayment programs and key student loan debt and repayment information.
· California Young Lawyers Association: Working through CYLA, the Bar should develop mechanisms and new approaches to assist young lawyers in better understanding and proactively addressing the implications of their student debt obligations.
· Creating an Enhanced Understanding of Student Debt Data, Concerns and Implications: The Bar should continue to put a spotlight on the issue of law school debt, promote an enhanced understanding of the link between student debt and broader community access to justice and public safety concerns, and assist others working to study, quantify and better define the implications of student loan indebtedness.
· Assess Relationship to Misconduct: The Bar should work through its discipline arm to assess whether student debt is precipitating or contributing to lawyer misconduct.
· Work with Law Schools: The Bar should use both its law school regulatory power as well as its established relationships with law school leaders to encourage enhanced counseling, strategies and disclosures in regard to student debt.
· Participate in National Dialogue: The State Bar should consider ways to add its voice to the national dialogue seeking to develop and promote enhanced loan forgiveness and repayment approaches.
· Encourage New Law School Cost Models: The State Bar should help encourage new and innovative models that seek to address law school cost concerns.
· Implementation: The Board of Trustees should create a group to implement these recommendations
Appendix A- List of Panelists and Witnesses at CJSTF Hearing
Appendix B - Summary of Recommendations
Appendix C - Excerpts from Witnesses at Hearings
Appendix D - Reports of the CJSTF Subcommittees