Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rescuing legal aid

An op ed piece by a law professor and former legal aid lawyer: Clare Pastore, Rescuing legal aid - Los Angeles Times, Feb. 23, 2009:

Every day, Americans without access to legal counsel unnecessarily lose homes, jobs, retirement benefits, healthcare and custody of their children. This is because in America, we have not yet recognized a right to counsel in civil cases, except in a tiny number of narrow areas. Indigent clients with the law on their side often find themselves losing to well-funded opponents simply because they have no means of fighting back.

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In the end, the cost of providing counsel must be balanced against the hidden costs of not providing representation: the societal costs of displacing a frail senior, for example, can dwarf those of providing legal help to avoid the eviction.
Thanks: Michele Storms.

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