Distinguished Jurists, Business Leaders, and Law Deans Join Legal Aid Community for Legal Services Corporation’s Access to Justice Forum

October 12, 2017

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Business leaders, distinguished jurists from across the country, law school deans, and members of the legal aid community will gather on Monday, October 16, to discuss ways to expand access to justice for low-income Americans. The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is hosting the event in conjunction with its Board of Directors’ quarterly meeting.

Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning and Professor D. James Greiner will join LSC Chair John G. Levi in delivering opening remarks. Four panel discussions will follow, each one focusing on different approaches to increasing the availability of civil legal assistance and the challenges of expanding access to justice nationwide.  

The first panel, “Natural Disasters, Legal Aid, and the Justice System,” will feature two chief justices of states affected by recent hurricanes. Supreme Court of Texas Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht will discuss the legal aid component of disaster relief with Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga. Judge Jonathan Lippman, Of Counsel with Latham & Watkins LLP and former Chief Judge of New York, will serve as moderator.

Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court; Shelley Spacek Miller, Senior Court Research Analyst with the National Center for State Courts; and Justice Laurie D. Zelon of the California 2nd District Court of Appeal will take part in the second panel, “The Justice for All Project: An Overview.” The panelists will explain how the project supports efforts by states to understand and adopt the resolution of the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators to promote meaningful access to justice for all Americans. LSC President James J. Sandman will moderate the discussion.

LSC Vice Chair and former Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow will moderate the third panel, "Law Schools' Work and Access to Justice," which will explore the role of law schools in expanding the availability of civil legal services. She will be joined by seven law school deans: Dean Danielle M. Conway, University of Maine School of Law; Dean Thomas J. Miles, University of Chicago Law School; Dean Maureen A. O’Rourke, Boston University School of Law; Dean Daniel B. Rodriguez, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law; Dean Vincent D. Rougeau, Boston College Law School; Dean Theodore Ruger, University of Pennsylvania Law School; and Dean Robert K. Vischer, University of St. Thomas School of Law.

The final panel, “The Importance of Access to Justice to American Business,” will focus on why American businesses depend on a well-functioning justice system that is accessible to all. Panelists include Paul T. Dacier, General Counsel, Indigo Agriculture; Alex Dimitrief, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, General Electric Company; and Kathleen E. McGrath, Assistant Vice President and Senior Counsel, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. The panel will be moderated by Ron Flagg, LSC’s Vice President for Legal Affairs, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary.

The panels will be held 2 to 5 p.m. at Harvard Law School’s Wasserstein Hall, 1585 Massachusetts Avenue. Members of the press are invited to attend.

The event will also be live-streamed via Facebook Live. To view it, visit LSC’s Facebook page

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.