John Jay College President Jeremy Travis has been named to an advisory group empaneled by New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman to explore how properly trained and qualified non-lawyers advocates can help to narrow the state’s gap in the delivery of legal services.
The 22-member Committee on Non-Lawyers and the Justice Gap includes statewide representatives from the courts, legal service providers, the bar, law schools, community-based service providers and other stakeholders. President Travis is one of four members representing an institution of higher education, and the only one of those not affiliated with a law school.
“The availability of affordable, meaningful legal representation is a critical priority, fundamental to the Judiciary’s core mission of ensuring equal justice under the law,” said Chief Judge Lippman. “Regrettably, even with the millions of pro bono service hours so generously provided each year by members of New York’s legal profession, we simply cannot keep pace – particularly in these uncertain economic times – with the growing need for civil legal assistance among New Yorkers of modest means in matters involving their most basic needs.”
The committee will focus its efforts on housing, elder law and consumer credit, looking into such issues as training requirements and other qualifications for non-lawyer advocates, the scope of work non-lawyer advocates will be allowed to perform, and measures to protect consumers who use their services.
A preliminary report including recommendations for pilot projects is to be submitted to Chief Judge Lippman by November 2013.
Click here to read the press release from The New York State Unified Court System.
Click here to read New York Law Journal article on the advisory group.