Access to Justice Commission


In conjunction with the Supreme Court of Louisiana, the Louisiana State Bar Association has created the Louisiana Access to Justice Commission. Continuing the work of the former LSBA ATJ Policy Committee, the Commission will pursue a coordinated and systemic approach to ensuring the public’s access to the legal system.

The purpose of the commission is to “assure continuity of policy and purpose in the collaboration between the private bar, the courts, and the civil justice community so as to further the goal of assuring that Louisianans, regardless of their economic circumstance, have access to equal justice under the law.”




Commission News and Articles

Voices for Civil Justice
In support of the legislative efforts, the Commission approved a request to develop a single communication and messaging strategy for Louisiana’s Justice Community. Voices for Civil Justice, a national communication group conducted a training to help us coordinate that messaging. Those invited included where, ATJ Commission Committee Chairs, LBF and LSBA officers and communications personnel, and directors of civil legal aid organizations.




2017 Pro Bono Publico and Children's Law Awards
The Louisiana State Bar Association nominations for its 2017 Friend of Pro Bono Award, Pro Bono Publico Award, Career Public Interest Award, the David A. Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award, the Law Student Award and the Children's Law Award will open December 5, 2016. Awards will be presented at a pro bono reception in May 2017.

Nominations close on February 17, 2017 at 4:30pm

Click here for the nomination form and more details.




Re-entry Court CLE
The Access to Justice Commission Building Bridges Committee and LSBA Re-Entry Court Working Group co-sponsored a training to educate volunteer attorneys on high priority legal matters participants in the Louisiana Re-Entry Court Program face after incarceration that prevent them from attaining gainful employment, housing, and financial stability. The training, attended by over 80 attorneys, provided instructions on how to handle legal issues for Re-Entry Court participants to increase success and reduce recidivism.




ATJ Developing Leadership Intern Program

During the March 2015 Access to Justice Summit, participants concluded that cultivating the next generation of access to justice leaders should not only be a priority but is necessary as sensible succession planning to ensure continued efforts within Louisiana’s Justice Community. In response, representatives of LSBA, LBF, Louisiana civil legal aid providers, Louisiana District Judges Association, Louisiana law schools, the Louisiana Supreme Court and private bar law firms joined forces to create the ATJ Developing Leadership Intern Program. This new initiative is a unique opportunity for law students to gain the insight and skills needed to become the next generation of access to justice leaders and unlike any other program in the country. Only four students were selected to participate in the program; one from which of our four Louisiana law schools.. The interns worked with numerous civil legal aid providers and judges and were sponsored by prestigious law firms with records of dedication to access to justice issues. Weekly programming focused on the various civil legal needs of low-income people; the ways in which organizations within the justice community address those needs; and how these services are increasing the quality of life for those served. The sponsoring firms were Adams and Reese, Baker Donelson, Jones Walker, and Phelps Dunbar LLP.

On the very first day of the program, the interns were treated to lunch with Chief Justice Johnson and a tour of the Louisiana Supreme Court. During the remainder of the 5 week program, the two Baton Rouge interns worked with Judge Suzan Ponder (Baton Rouge City Court) Judge Lisa Woodruff-White (East Baton Rouge Family Court), The Baton Rouge Bar Foundation’s Pro Bono Program, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, and Southeast LA Legal Services. The two New Orleans interns worked with Judge John Molaison (24th JDC), Judge Bernadette D’Souza (Orleans Family Court), Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the Louisiana Civil Justice Center, The Pro Bono Project of New Orleans, and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. In addition, all interns were invited to attend an Access to Justice Commission meeting, the LSBA Pro Bono & Children’s Law Awards Ceremony, and a lunch panel with Judge Jay Zainey (US District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana) and Judge Stephen Higginson (US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit).

Planning is currently underway for the 2017 ATJ Developing Leadership Intern Program.


Louisiana State Bar Association
601 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130
(800) 421-LSBA(5722) / (504) 566-1600