Access to Justice

  • January 27, 2022

    Chief Cook Co. Chancery Judge Retiring After 31 Years

    Cook County Judge Moshe Jacobius, who is retiring after 31 years on the bench and leads the chancery division, recounts how he innovated the court's foreclosure mediation program to help homeowners during the great recession and launched a prescient pilot program for remote hearings the year before the pandemic hit.

  • January 25, 2022

    MacArthur Justice Center Taps Veteran Litigator As Director

    The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center has elevated a civil rights litigator with experience arguing high-stake cases to executive director, the nonprofit said Tuesday.

  • January 21, 2022

    Public Defender Shortages In West Are Nationwide Norm

    The American Bar Association and consulting firm Moss Adams LLP released two reports in January on public defender shortages in New Mexico and Oregon, and legal experts say that these shortages have been the norm for years in states across the U.S.

  • January 21, 2022

    4 Takeaways From Civil Rights Commission's Cash Bail Study

    Pretrial detention in the United States has seen explosive growth since 1970, with disparities in race and gender, as well as noted negative effects to a massive population not yet convicted of a crime, according to a report released Thursday from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

  • January 21, 2022

    Simpson Thacher Scores Pro Bono Win In Miss. Mosque Case

    When two longtime Mississippi residents, Riyadh Elkhayyat and Maher Abuirshaid, sought to build a mosque in a suburb in the north of the state, they were met with hostility.

  • January 21, 2022

    A Dire Court Reporter Shortage? Depends On Who You Ask

    The nationwide court reporter shortage has drummed up a contentious debate in the legal industry over how big a problem it is.

  • January 20, 2022

    NY Court Directives Extend Eviction Default Buffer

    A state law that kept most evictions at bay during the coronavirus pandemic has expired, but new court directives maintain a procedural buffer to help New York City tenants match with a lawyer and mount defenses.

  • January 19, 2022

    Justices Wary Of Courts' Wide Discretion In Resentencing

    Supreme Court justices on Wednesday expressed discomfort with giving federal district courts the power to reject updated sentencing guidelines and mitigating circumstances when considering shortening defendants' sentences.

  • January 11, 2022

    What Pandemic Law's End Could Mean For NY Housing Courts

    A New York law that has kept residential evictions largely at bay is poised to expire over the weekend, and attorneys are strategizing on how to best advise tenants and landlords assuming stays on thousands of pending cases lift in a matter of days.

  • January 09, 2022

    Mass. Board Punts On Police Immunity Despite Positive Steps

    A Massachusetts commission charged with exploring changes to qualified immunity for police officers in the state did make some "important" recommendations, but ultimately failed to substantively tackle the controversial doctrine, according to activists.

  • January 09, 2022

    LAPD Case Sheds Light On Agencies' Social Media Monitoring

    Federal and local law enforcement agencies have long collected information from social media for a variety of purposes, but those practices have intensified in recent years, legal experts say. With the pro bono help of attorneys, public interest groups are now bringing some of those practices into the public view.

  • January 09, 2022

    Winston & Strawn Pro Bono Leader On Plans For 2022

    Winston & Strawn LLP has been in the thick of pro bono legal battles over COVID-19 in the last year. Here, the firm's senior pro bono counsel, Greg McConnell, tells Law360 about what's on his team's radar for the year to come.

  • January 09, 2022

    Jones Day Crafts Guide For Child Image Exploitation Cases

    In an effort to help attorneys represent victims of child sexual abuse whose images were distributed online, Jones Day attorneys helped craft a 400-page manual on behalf of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

  • January 07, 2022

    Calif. Lawmakers To Consider Bill To Expand Jury Pools

    The California Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 12 will consider a proposed bill that would enable federal courts to use state tax filings to summon jurors, in an effort to diversify jury pools.

  • January 06, 2022

    NY Agency Ordered To Reopen Pandemic Rental Aid Portal

    A New York agency tasked with distributing federal rental aid must again accept applications across much of the state, a judge ordered Thursday, reinstating one significant pandemic-era eviction safeguard shortly before another is set to expire.

  • January 04, 2022

    NY To Receive Fraction Of $1B Rent Aid Request, Court Told

    New York will receive a small portion of the nearly $1 billion in additional funding it has sought from the U.S. Treasury Department to cover coronavirus rent arrears, intended to fulfill thousands of pending requests to aid struggling tenants and landlords.

  • December 19, 2021

    What To Watch In State Criminal Justice Reform In 2022

    While criminal justice reform has been slow at the federal level in 2021, some states have passed major reforms like eliminating money bail and reducing lengthy prison sentences that can be legislative templates for other states in 2022.

  • December 19, 2021

    Arnold & Porter Gets Spiritual Adviser For Death Row Inmate

    Last month, Arnold & Porter attorneys helped secure an agreement and case dismissal that would allow Charles Burton Jr., an Alabama death row inmate and a Muslim, to be accompanied by his imam during his eventual execution.

  • December 17, 2021

    5 Matters That Shaped Access To Justice In 2021

    This year was an eventful one for access to justice in the United States. An eviction crisis and extreme weather events engulfed the nation. Voting restrictions and gerrymandering spurred a wave of lawsuits. And a chaotic end to America's longest war created a sudden refugee crisis. Meanwhile, the legalization of cannabis in several states created new opportunities.

  • December 19, 2021

    National Homeless Law Center Chief On Hurdles, 2022 Goals

    As the National Homelessness Law Center’s recently hired executive director, Antonia Fasanelli has been at the forefront of tackling issues tied with the growing national homeless rate. Here, she talks with Law360 about her top projects and the criminalization of homelessness.

  • December 19, 2021

    Reforming Elections In NY: What Legal Experts Say

    In New York state, voters have put up with plenty of mishaps in recent elections: hourslong waits at early voting sites; polling locations unreachable by public transportation; and a contested congressional race that dragged on for more than three months before being settled by a judge.

  • December 15, 2021

    Plaintiffs Attys In Limbo, With Jury Trials 'Impossible' In NY

    New York plaintiffs attorneys tell Law360 that between social distancing orders and limited courtroom space, they are no closer to getting a trial date than they were a year ago — and the delays are jeopardizing their livelihoods, their clients' prospects and the fairness of the system of justice.

  • December 13, 2021

    Prestige Leaders: A Look At Our New Law Firm Ranking

    Join Law360 Pulse as we embark on our brand new project examining what makes law firms successful, turning this time to our prestige leaders — award-winning firms whose reputations precede them, thanks to their profitability, popularity among summer associates and visibility in legal news.

  • December 05, 2021

    Alston & Bird Help Toss Non-Unanimous Louisiana Conviction

    A Louisiana man spent nearly four decades in prison after a non-unanimous jury convicted him after 26-minute deliberations. When the Supreme Court ruled such verdicts were unconstitutional in 2019, Alston & Bird attorneys helped him get his conviction overturned.

  • December 05, 2021

    Biden's Inaction Keeps Justice Reform Group Sidelined

    President Joe Biden, almost one year in office, has yet to nominate new commissioners for the federal government's solo independent criminal justice agency — keeping a potentially key player in justice reform on the sidelines, according to legal experts.

Expert Analysis

  • 2 Worthy Goals For The DOJ's New Domestic Terrorism Unit

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    The U.S. Department of Justice’s newly announced Domestic Terrorism Unit should include both counterterrorism and civil rights prosecutors, and would benefit from a criminal statute that is modeled after international terrorism laws and that strikes a balance between protecting the public and constitutional rights, say Emil Bove and Brittany Manna at Chiesa Shahinian.

  • Justice Reforms Are Not To Blame For Waukesha Tragedy

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    Last month's parade attack in Wisconsin has brought into focus the fact that the accused was out of jail on a low bond — but this tragedy must not be exploited to reverse years of long-overdue criminal justice reform, when emerging data shows that new prosecutorial models are associated with better outcomes than an overly punitive approach, says Alissa Marque Heydari at John Jay College.

  • Addressing Prison Risk After CARES Act Home Confinement

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    Home confinement eligibility, which was expanded last year due to high rates of COVID-19 in penal institutions, may soon be tightened, so house-detained individuals at risk of returning to prison should understand their various avenues for relief, as well as the procedural obstacles they may face in mounting legal challenges, say Charles Burnham and Jonathan Knowles at Burnham & Gorokhov.

  • We Must Help Fix Justice Gap In Georgia's Legal Deserts

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    In much of rural Georgia, there are too few lawyers to meet residents’ urgent legal needs, forcing self-represented litigants to navigate an impenetrable system, but courts, law firms and nonlawyers can help address these legal deserts in various ways, says Lauren Sudeall at Georgia State University College of Law.

  • Reimagining Courthouse Design For Better Access To Justice

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    While courthouse design has historically been driven by tradition, it is time to shift from the classical courthouse to spaces that are accessible to those with mobility challenges, serve the needs of vulnerable litigants, and accommodate pandemic-era shifts toward remote and hybrid proceedings, says architect Clair Colburn at Finegold Alexander.

  • Why Law Schools Should Require Justice Reform Curriculum

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    Criminal defense attorney Donna Mulvihill Fehrmann argues that law schools have an obligation to address widespread racial and economic disparities in the U.S. legal system by mandating first-year coursework on criminal justice reform that educates on prosecutorial misconduct, wrongful convictions, defense 101 and more.

  • Attorneys, Fight For Enviro Justice With Both Law And Protest

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    In this moment of climate crisis, lawyers can and should use law and protest in tandem — from urging law firms to stop serving the fossil fuel industry to helping draft laws that accelerate the transition to a sustainable way of life, says Vivek Maru at Namati.

  • One-Subject Rule Strategy Can Defeat Dangerous State Laws

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    Attorneys at Ulmer & Berne explain how single-subject rule violation claims can thwart certain unconstitutional or controversial state statutes and protect civil rights in the face of state governments under one-party rule.

  • States Must Rethink Wrongful Conviction Compensation Laws

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    States, counties and municipalities have now paid over $3 billion in judgments or settlements to exonerees, while policymakers lack comprehensive data on official misconduct and financial costs — but rethinking state compensation statutes can curb the policies and practices that cause wrongful convictions in the first place, says Jeffrey Gutman at George Washington University.

  • Police And Voting Reform Need Federal Remedy, Not Takeover

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    The debate over what level of government should hold sway is central to today's impasse over voting rights and police reform legislation, but anchoring the conversation in the U.S. Constitution can create the common ground of tailored federal remediation that also preserves traditional state and local functions, says Marc Levin at the Council on Criminal Justice.

  • 8th Circ. Ruling Further Narrows Qualified Immunity

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    The recent Eighth Circuit ruling in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship/USA v. University of Iowa seems to align with a growing body of case law suggesting that government officials may have a harder time obtaining qualified immunity for their actions if they involve calculated choices to enforce unconstitutional policies, says Thomas Eastmond at Holland & Knight.

  • 6 Ways To Improve Veterans' Access To Civil Legal Aid

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    Veterans often lack adequate help when confronting civil legal issues such as evictions, foreclosures and child custody disputes, so legal aid organizations should collaborate with veteran-serving programs and state and local governments to offer former military members better access to legal resources, say Ronald Flagg at Legal Services Corp. and Isabelle Ord at DLA Piper.

  • Better Civil Legal Resources Are Key To Justice For All

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    Fulfilling the promise of equal justice requires disruptive change to the civil legal system, where millions of Americans lack adequate resources and information — and attorneys have many opportunities to help their states build the tools necessary to navigate civil disputes, say retired California Judge Laurie Zelon and Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack.

  • User Feedback Is Key To Running Virtual Diversion Programs

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    Judicially led diversion programs have adapted to the COVID-19 era by providing services online, but recent research points to a disconnect between practitioner and participant perspectives, showing that soliciting user input is crucial to success, says Tara Kunkel at Rulo Strategies. 

  • Justices Must Reject Police Shield Against Civil Rights Claims

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    The Institute for Justice’s Marie Miller lays out four reasons why, in deciding Thompson v. Clark, the U.S. Supreme Court should reverse an arcane circuit court rule that abandons the foundational presumption of innocence principle and ultimately provides a shield for police and other government officers who violate constitutional rights.

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