This Article examines three ways in which consumers are gaining greater access to the justice system without using lawyers. First, courts around the country have adopted standardized forms in both paper and electronic form for use by pro se litigants and are adopting other technology to improve the experience of self-represented litigants. Similarly, companies such as LegalZoom are using a do-it-yourself approach (a la Turbo Tax) to help consumers obtain a wide variety of legal documents at a relatively low price. Second, New York recently adopted a mandatory pro bono requirement for applicants seeking admission to the bar on or after January 1, 2015, that will mobilize law students across the country to deliver legal services to the poor. Third, and perhaps most radical, Washington State has approved a limited-license practice rule that will permit nonlawyers to engage in limited forms of legal practice, and other states are considering similar proposals. In addition to describing these initiatives that seek to improve access to justice without the use of lawyers, this Article argues that we should embrace such initiatives in light of our current access-to-justice crisis. While all of these approaches have shortcomings — and better ways exist to improve access to justice, starting with significant increases in legal services funding by federal and state governments — the magnitude of our access-to-justice crisis calls for experimentation.
Cooper, Benjamin P.
"Access to Justice Without Lawyers,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 47:
1, Article 10.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol47/iss1/10