Our nation is facing a paradox involving access to justice. On the one hand, too many people with low and moderate incomes cannot find or afford a lawyer to defend their legal interests, no matter how urgent the issue. On the other hand, too many law graduates in recent years have found it difficult to gain the practical experience they need to enter practice effectively.
The American Bar Association is uniquely positioned to connect the unmet legal needs of our society and the unmet employment needs of our young lawyers. At my request, the ABA is convening a task force of experts in legal education, legal aid and legal service delivery to determine how we can help resolve both problems together.
Legal “incubator” and residency programs, hosted by law schools and bar associations, are providing good practical experience for recent law graduates who serve populations with unmet legal needs.
Public interest models are also emerging. Lawyers for America, founded by the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, provides two-year fellowships during students’ final year of law school and their first year as new lawyers.
Read the full letter from American Bar Association President James R. Silkenat in the ABA Journal here.