University of Michigan Football Coach Jim Harbaugh and Legal Services Corporation Host Two Days of Access to Justice Events

ANN ARBOR, MI – Distinguished jurists, educators, and leaders of the legal community will gather on Friday, November 3, for panel discussions on how to expand access to justice. The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is hosting the event in conjunction with the University of Michigan football game on November 4, during which LSC Chair John G. Levi and LSC President James J. Sandman will be among those named honorary captains of the team.

Levi and Sandman have been invited by University of Michigan Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh. He serves on LSC’s Leaders Council, which works to raise public awareness of the current crisis in legal aid.

"All Americans should care about equal access to justice and, as representatives of LSC, John Levi and Jim Sandman represent some of our country's most important leaders in achieving this goal,” said Harbaugh. “In hosting them as honorary captains, Michigan Football proudly welcomes two of America's best ambassadors for the ideal of access to justice for all.”

The Access to Justice Forum will begin with opening remarks from Levi and University of Michigan Law School Dean Mark West. They will be joined by the University of Michigan’s J.T. Rogan, Director of Communications & Operations for the Head Football Coach, and Broderick Johnson, who formerly served as Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary under President Obama and is now a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan Law School and a Partner with Bryan Cave LLP.

Two panel discussions will follow, focusing on ways to increase access to civil legal assistance for low-income Americans. The first, “Judicial Perspectives on Access to Justice,” will feature Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Margaret H. Chutich, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, and Judge Victoria A. Roberts of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. They will discuss barriers to justice and the impact that large numbers of litigants without lawyers have on the justice system.

The second panel, “Legal Services and Law School Collaborations to Expand Access to Justice,” will explore ways of expanding the availability of civil legal services for low-income Americans. The panelists include Bob Gillett, Executive Director, Michigan Advocacy Program; Elizabeth Rios, Managing Attorney, Lansing Office, Legal Services of South Central Michigan; and Suellyn Scarnecchia, Clinical Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School and a Michigan Advocacy Program Board Member. Sandman will deliver closing remarks.

The following day, Levi and Sandman will join Harbaugh at Michigan Stadium for Legal Services Day.  

The panels will be held 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the University of Michigan Law School, South Hall 1225, 201 South State Street. Members of the press are invited to attend. 

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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