The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance ends with the phrase “with liberty and justice for all”- reminding us of our country’s guiding principle that justice should be accessible to everyone. Most low-income Americans, however, are forced to work through civil legal matters without representation. In 2016, 71% of low-income households nationwide reported that they experienced at least one civil legal problem, and 86% of those issues received inadequate or no legal help.
Luckily, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Technology is and will continue playing a vital role in closing this justice gap, ensuring equal justice no longer serves as an aspirational goal, but rather a right and reality for all. To get there, the profession needs to get creative.
One approach taken by the Legal Service Corporation calls for leveraging resources we already have – our volunteer attorneys. Through technology, the LSC has equipped volunteers with the necessary training to more strategically approach the large volume of matters affecting nearly 60 million Americans without access to legal representation who quality for LSC-funded civil legal assistance.
John Levi is a partner at Sidley Austin in the law firm’s Chicago office in the employment and labor law group.
Aside from his work at Sidley Austin, back in 2010, John was appointed by President Obama to the Board of the Legal Services Corporation, and subsequently was elected to serve as Chairman. He was re-nominated in 2014, and currently still serves in this role. Passionate about closing the access to justice gap, John’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Over the course of his career, he has been honored by the Harvard Law Society of Illinois, the Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles, the Cleveland Legal Aid, and the Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. He is a frequent speaker and prominent figure in the access to justice space in the legal profession.