Section Description Provided by Instructor
Communities and courts across the country are increasingly focused on ways to ensure access to justice. Litigants who come from historically under-represented communities face unique challenges when accessing the courts and trying to fit their cases into traditional legal doctrines. This course will examine both the structural obstacles that exist, and the substantive developments that have increased access to the courts. It will examine some innovative approaches, including in family and criminal law, and explore the practical and ethical issues raised by problem solving courts. It also will examine efforts to create a civil Gideon for litigants, and to increase the availability of lawyers in cases where indigent litigants traditionally have been pro se.
For students who are currently enrolled in, or considering, internships or clerkships, the course also will provide perspective on the practical challenges facing judges and lawyers, especially in courts that serve a significant number of indigent litigants. The course will discuss how change has been achieved in some of these areas and explore the dynamic between outside advocacy to achieve systemic change and individual rulings in specific cases. Students will visit one of the community/ problem solving courts in NYC as part of this class.
Method of Evaluation
J.D. Writing Credit
Minor (automatic), Major (only upon consultation)
LLM Writing Project
(only upon consultation)