Pro Bono News

How Lawyers and Judges Can Help Rebuild Public Trust and Confidence in Our Justice System

Thursday, August 09, 2018

How Lawyers and Judges Can Help Rebuild Public Trust and Confidence in Our Justice System

"At all levels, our court systems and legal service providers are struggling. Providers have fewer resources to deliver adequate civil and criminal legal services necessary to address the unmet legal needs of our nation’s poor, near-poor, and those of moderate means. Large corporations and others who can afford the cost of litigation often turn away from the courts because of delays, inefficiencies and legal costs. The inadequate funding of our co-equal, third branch of government has contributed to an erosion of public confidence in our courts.

However, the challenges in both the civil and criminal justice arenas are not only due to inadequate funding. Rather, they are greatly exacerbated—if not partly caused—by the hesitancy of many in the legal profession and the business community to acknowledge and seek correction of the shortcomings of the justice system. Whether those deficiencies are rooted in a lack of cultural and language awareness, racism or sexism, bias, power inequities, or even professional self-interest, they have made justice unobtainable for many in our nation. We have failed to recognize the criticality of access to justice for not just some, but for all. This is the very essence of the American rule of law, and it is our duty to ensure that it never falters.

To achieve justice for all in our country, we must work collectively to assure that our court system is strong and that our judiciary remains independent. It must be not only for and when our own interests or those of our clients are at stake. Rather, it must be so each time we see injustice, lack of access, attacks on the judiciary, or services rendered by the justice system that fall short of what Americans are guaranteed by our Constitution. We cannot stand silent and turn a blind eye. There are concrete ways that individual lawyers and judges immediately can contribute to rekindling trust and confidence in our American justice system..."

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