A new report was released last month entitled, “The Sustainable 21st Century Law Library: Vision, Deployment and Assessment for Access to Justice.” As stated in the report,
“Sadly, this Report, and the urgency of its recommendations, is grounded in the grim reality that our justice system has not met the needs of its most vulnerable and needy litigants. Study after study of the civil legal needs of low-income people in the United States tell a remarkably consistent story: the legal needs of most low- and middle-income people remain unmet.”
The report examines the danger of this trend while providing the opportunity law libraries have in assisting the unrepresented in gaining access to justice. The report recommends broader missions for law libraries, collaborative efforts with courts and legal aid providers, expanded use of technology and broader roles of non-lawyers in providing education and information assistance.
Administer Justice and the Kane County Law Library are ahead of the pact in providing these services. For the past several years our organizations worked together to plan a “Lawyer in the Library” project that became a reality last year. The Kane County Law Library’s Self Help Center works with Administer Justice, the court system and private bar to deliver critical information to clients in need. By using on-line technology, Administer Justice has forms that attorneys can access to provide general information, guidance and pro se assistance to individuals in the community in need of assistance. Judges frequently refer unrepresented individuals and members of the private bar along with Administer Justice staff join the staff at the library in delivering these services. Today we have three rooms built out in the judicial center and every week we serve people in need of help and hope.
For centuries Christians have often helped lead the way in innovative solutions to education, health care, and other services. The time has come for us to help lead the way in the justice crisis facing our nation. With expanding roles of paralegals and other non-lawyers, we can leverage ground-breaking technology to provide access to justice across the nation. This is a call for all and we hope you will join us in administering true justice to those in need.