California Commission on Access to Justice Receives Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access
CHICAGO, Feb. 5, 2004 – The California Commission on Access to Justice will receive the 2004 Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access from the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services. The award will be presented at a luncheon during the ABA Midyear Meeting in San Antonio on Friday, Feb. 6.
In 2001, the commission created a Limited Representation Committee, which was charged with the obligation of examining and analyzing remedies that would assure people with limited means are able to obtain legal services. The committee focused on limited-scope legal assistance, or unbundled legal services. Unbundling occurs when a lawyer provides only a portion of the legal services needed by a client and the client agrees to do the rest. A lawyer may provide only legal advice or coaching, prepare or review documents, or represent the client in court for one part of a dispute, for example.
Since setting out a series of recommendations, the committee has been working toward changes necessary to enhance access to legal services. It has advanced new rules and forms that enable limited representation in family law matters. It has developed materials and conducted workshops to assist practitioners. And it has developed client education materials that explain the benefits and limitations of limited representation.
“The California Commission on Access to Justice demonstrates the potential of the states to create changes that expand access,” according to Judge Lora J. Livingston, chair of the standing committee. “It has used policy changes and education to improve the ability of people to obtain the services of lawyers in affordable ways. We applaud their work and encourage other jurisdictions to examine and adopt the strategies advanced by the commission.”
The Louis M. Brown Award is sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services as part of the committee’s mission to enhance access to legal services for those who do not qualify for legal aid and lack the resources for traditional legal assistance.
The award is named in honor of Louis M. Brown, who for more than 60 years was a champion of access to legal services to those of modest means. Brown was the founder and chair of the National Center for Preventive Law and the originator of personal legal check-ups.
The ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services has produced a booklet describing each of the programs and projects nominated for the 2004 Brown Award, titled “Profiles of Moderate Income Delivery Programs.” The booklet is designed to stimulate improved and innovative access to legal information, services and representation. It is available free of charge.
For more information about the Brown Award and the work of the Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, go to the committee’s Web site at www.abanet.org/legalservices/delivery.html.
The American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership association in the world. With more than 400,000 members, the ABA provides law school accreditation, continuing legal education, information about the law, programs to assist lawyers and judges in their work, and initiatives to improve the legal system for the public.