February 2015 Bar Bulletin
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Access to Justice Is a Basic Human Right, Part II


Equal justice under law is not merely a caption on the facade of the Supreme Court building, it is perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our society. It is one of the ends for which our entire legal system exists ... it is fundamental that justice should be the same, in substance and availability, without regard to economic status.
-Justice Lewis Powell, Jr.
Address to the ABA Legal Services Program
ABA Annual Meeting August 10, 1976.

As noted in last month's column, in July the American Association of Law Libraries released its white paper, "Law Libraries and Access to Justice, A Report of the American Association of Law Libraries Special Committee on Access to Justice" - http://www.aallnet.org/mm/Publications/products/atjwhitepaper.pdf. Its goal is to outline in detail the many valuable ways in which law libraries can take an active part in improving access to justice for all people. It serves as an important guide for stakeholders in the access to justice community as they consider the implementation and delivery of services to benefit those in need.

The paper identified several overarching objectives for all types of law libraries to achieve the goal collaboratively. They include:

  • overcoming geographic disparities;
  • assisting with core collection development;
  • promoting development of centralized websites for the self-represented litigant;
  • enhancing access to supportive technologies;
  • increasing involvement with ATJ commissions or their equivalents; and
  • increasing partnerships, especially with public librarians, to provide ongoing training regarding the "unauthorized practice of law."

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