Talk Justice, an LSC Podcast, Episode 11: Experts Discuss Court Innovations During COVID-19

WASHINGTON – The latest episode of the Legal Services Corporation’s (LSC) “Talk Justice” podcast released today explores how courts are adapting to the challenges presented by COVID-19. LSC Board Vice Chair Father Pius Pietrzyk discusses court innovations with Rita H. Blandino, director of the D.C. Court’s Domestic Violence Division, and Paul Tuttle, assistant clerk for the Massachusetts Court of Appeals.

The speakers describe the many challenges COVID-19 poses to the justice system and to low-income Americans with legal problems. They share details on how their courts have leveraged technology and partnerships to meet these challenges head on. Both highlight the need for court administrators and staff to remain nimble and adaptable amid the pandemic. 

Blandino explains that, despite the challenges, it’s been encouraging “to actually see the partnership between the judges, the leaders of the courts, and the administrators — and see how great we can work together and what we can do when we combine skill sets.” She adds: “In this very heightened and rushed situation, it's amazing what you can do when you bring those groups together with their different mindsets to get something done.”

Tuttle notes that many of the changes implemented to help self-represented litigants should continue after the pandemic. “We don’t ever want to go back to not having these available for people,” he says. “It’s gotten us through these times, but it’s something we’re going to be able to use going forward.” 

Talk Justice episodes are available on LSC’s website and on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple and other popular podcast apps. The podcast is sponsored by LSC’s Leaders Council. 

Future episodes of Talk Justice will explore how right-to-counsel mandates in housing courts might help blunt the eviction crisis, how medical-legal partnerships improve the delivery of legal services to low-income Americans and how partnerships between legal aid organizations and emergency management groups can better meet the civil legal needs of disaster survivors. 

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.

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