Oklahoma Commission Convenes to Advance Access to Justice, LSC President to Speak

August 25, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission will meet in Oklahoma City on Friday, August 26, for discussions on how to expand access to justice in civil matters across the state.

Legal Services Corporation President James J. Sandman will attend the meeting and discuss tactics for increasing access to justice in Oklahoma. 

“Access to Justice Commissions across the United States have made significant progress in helping people who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer address their civil legal needs,” Sandman said. “I look forward to sharing with Oklahoma’s commission the successes of other states and the perspective of the Legal Services Corporation, the country’s largest funder of civil legal aid programs for low-income people.”

The Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission was established by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 2014 to address the problem of the many low-income Oklahomans unable to receive legal representation on crucial civil legal matters. The Commission’s goal is to develop a strategic plan for improving the statewide delivery of civil legal services and reducing barriers to the justice system.

Commission members include an Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice, two judges, and respected leaders from various industries and communities. M. David Riggs, a partner with Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison & Lewis, PC, is Chair of the Commission.

"Our Commission is working on a number of initiatives which we think will improve access to justice for needy Oklahoma citizens while at the same time helping to strengthen our economy by reducing homelessness and unemployment, and by resolving family conflicts,” Riggs said. “We are looking forward to Mr. Sandman`s visit and to hearing from him how the legal systems in other states are improving access to justice, and the effect their efforts are having on these same issues."

Friday’s meeting will highlight what the Commission has already achieved and also look ahead to accomplishing new goals. Topics include a newly launched interactive website providing free legal information to low-income Oklahoma citizens and a statewide assessment survey on legal need.

The meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in the Oklahoma Supreme Court, 2100 N Lincoln Blvd. 

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.