Access to Justice ATJ Subcommittees
ATJ Subcommittees - The programs and projects sponsored and implemented by the ATJ Committee are accomplished through the work of six major ATJ Subcommittees.
Disaster Planning Subcommittee
This subcommittee is tasked with the ongoing coordination and implementation of the LSBA’s Justice Community disaster response through partnership with ABA-YLD Disaster Liaison, Pro Bono Organizations, Louisiana Appleseed, Louisiana Legal Services Providers, Law Schools, the Louisiana Civil Justice Center and other stakeholders.
The task of this subcommittee is to promote appropriate funding of the Louisiana LSC-funded programs. Focus is on state and federal funding issues.
- Completed educational brochure explaining the work of Louisiana’s Legal Services Network, the benefit of providing legal services to the indigent and the need for funding this network.
- Coordinated contact with Governor Jindal requesting funding of Louisiana legal services programs through a letter from the LSBA president.
- Provided all members of the Louisiana legislators with the request to the executive office and the educational brochure.
- Contacted several legislators in hopes of discussing state funding opportunities for Louisiana legal services programs. These efforts will become a longer-range initiative.
- Compiled document providing talking points on the dire funding situation of Louisiana legal services program spurred on by the loss of federal funds.
Gap Assessment Subcommittee
Examining the legal needs of Louisiana residents and the ability of the legal providers in the Justice Community to meet these needs, this committee will identify those needs which cannot be met through current methods or resources. Working with various community partners, the committee attempts to develop mechanisms for responding to these gaps in justice. Several proposed and ongoing ATJ Program projects are part of the work of this subcommittee.
- Coordinated the 2011 "Legal Services Programs in Louisiana: Their Economic Impact on the State of Louisiana." This document highlights the fiscal benefits which accrue to the local economy because of legal services provided to Louisiana residents by legal services programs.
- Completed survey of legal needs, identified legal needs that were not being addressed, prioritized the legal needs and developed initiatives and solutions to alleviate the gaps in services. Issues examined include:
- Availability of domestic law resources
- Custody policies affecting school admissions
- Inconsistency of in forma pauperis practices
- Debt collection practices and education
- Developed an updated survey to assess the current (2013) legal needs. This reassessment will include examination of seasonal and regional unmet legal needs as well as issues involving limited access to courts for limited-English proficient citizens.
- If you are a provider of civil legal services and would like to participate in the 2013 Gap Assessment Survey contact ATJ Gap Assessment staff liaison, Linda Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504.619.0123.
Pro Bono Subcommittee
This subcommittee is tasked with support of activities coordinated through local pro bono entities to engage the private bar and judiciary in pro bono efforts, develop activities which support increased involvement and to recognize those who actively provide volunteer legal services.
The subcommittee will focus on the implementation of the recently developed Pro Bono Action Plan and the National Pro Bono Celebration.
- Conducts an annual pro bono summit at which a pro bono action plan is constructed with local pro bono entities and works to implement initiatives included in the plan.
- Supports local pro bono programs and staff
- Provided online training for pro bono staff and attorney.
- Develops template CLE presentations for local pro bono
- Encourages pro bono participation
- Conducted “Do Good, Do Well, Do Pro Bono” education campaigns to support pro bono work.
Conducted Pro Bono Heroes awareness campaign
- Developed Pro Bono Toolkit for Judges and worked with Supreme Court to encourage judicial support for pro bono
- Previously created an informational video to encourage and promote pro bono service.
- Encouraged law firm involvement in pro bono through development of model pro bono policies for law firms
- Recognizes statewide Pro Bono volunteer efforts by conducting annual LSBA Pro Bono Award Presentation and Reception
Self-Represented Litigant (SRL) Subcommittee
This subcommittee is tasked with fostering efforts that support self-represented litigants by working with the judiciary, justice community stakeholders, pro-bono community, clerks of court, statewide technology personnel and other interested parties on implementation of locally appropriate initiatives.
- Assists courts in creation of “Self-Help Resource Centers” (SHRCs) where volunteers provide self-represented litigants with forms, information, and referrals.
- Alexandria- The 9th JDC SHRC is led by Judge Harry Randow, and operates as a partnership between the 9th JDC, Alexandria Bar Association, Central Louisiana Pro Bono Program, and LSU Alexandria.
- Baton Rouge – The 19th JDC SHRC is led by Judge Lisa Woodruff White and administered by the Baton Rouge Bar Association. This service is a partnership between the 19th JDC, Baton Rouge Bar Association, Southern University Law Center, and LSU Law Center.
- New Orleans – The Orleans Parish SHRC launched under the leadership of Judge Tiffany Chase and is now under the leadership of Judge Bernadette D’Souza. The Pro Bono Project helps recruit volunteers, and several local firms and corporations send volunteers on a recurring basis.
- Shreveport –The 1st JDC SHRC is the most recent addition to the Louisiana’s SRL network and is currently in a pilot-project phase. The program is administered by the Shreveport Bar Foundation Pro Bono Project.
- Supports a variety of other service delivery models in operation around the state including legal clinics and workshops, online resources, early resolution programs, and LawHelp.org.
- Assists courts in development of self-help forms, informational material and websites.
- Coordinates LSBA efforts with LDJA SRL Committee.
- ATJ Staff play key roles in the development of a recently enacted amendment to Louisiana’s Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 3, which now provides explicit guidance on the judicial role of ensuring that self-represented litigants are afforded meaningful access to justice.
The SRL Counsel has presented to the LDJA Subcommittee on national trends and best practices related to SRL issues, drafted an article for the LDJA newsletter, helped coordinate statewide data collection efforts, provided trainings for pro-bono and law school partners, and contributed to CLE sessions and judicial trainings.
These subcommittees are often aided by ad hoc committees and work groups.
This subcommittee will focus its efforts on technology issues related to providing public interest legal assistance and efficiencies that can be gained to through the use of technology. A separate group steers development of the statewide case management program to benefit the ten partners using the system.
More information on the Access to Justice Technology Subcommittee can be found at:
- Develops a comprehensive statewide technology plan that helps guide our nonprofit organization partners in developing technologies that can help them maximize the work they do with minimal resources.
- Implements the strategies outlined in the plan including:
- Assisted with development of LSC Technology Initiative Grant
- Completed a Computer Needs Survey in support of the SCMS Steering Group which handles PRIME training.
- Provided evaluative suggestions for technology in the areas of desktop scanners, Adobe Acrobat with an explanation of the different package features, alternative online calendars and web-based email
Statewide Uniform Case Management System Several years ago, the LSBA accepted responsibility for development of a single, uniform case management system which all three legal services, all six pro bono programs and the Louisiana Civil Justice Center (LCJC) use. The statewide case management system, Prime, allows all ten provider organizations to use the same system for seamless transmission of data. This technology assists our nonprofit partners with the ability to maximize their work with minimal resources.
Upon completion of the Bar’s commitment to place the providers on a uniform system, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Operating Agreement with the legal services organizations for continued functioning of the system. These documents provide guidance for future oversight and undertakings of the coordinated case management system. These documents establish a steering group which provides for self-management by the SCMS stakeholders. This group has met monthly since March, 2012 and distributes a bi-monthly newsletter
and the Technology Counsel distributes a bi-monthly report to keep partners and key contributors advised of its progress.
The Technology Subcommittee hosted a Technology Summit in December of 2013. For the minutes, click here