Law symposium to examine citizens’ access to justice

The University of Cincinnati College of Law and the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts will host the “Access to Justice Symposium”, 12:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 3 in Room 160 of the College (2925 Campus Green Drive). This half-day symposium will feature presentations from local and national experts on strategies to impact citizens’ access to justice, evictions, and civil justice. CLE: 3 (approval pending for OH and KY). Cost: $25. Parking is available at the Campus Green Garage.

For those who can’t afford a lawyer, accessing the court system without legal representation can be confusing, scary, and lonely. A 2015 report from the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Task Force on Access to Justice noted that Ohio courts are filled with individuals unable to secure legal representation in civil matters [and] are left with no choice but to navigate an unfamiliar, complex court system alone. Additional studies found that 86% of civil legal problems reported by low-income people received either no or inadequate legal help; and 71% of low-income households experienced at least one civil legal problem in the preceding year. A key recommendation from the Task Force’s report was the creation of court help centers across the state to assist self-represented litigants. This is how the Hamilton County Help Center came to be. Today, the Help Center, a five-year old partnership between the College of Law, Hamilton County Municipal Court, and the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, helps over 10,000 people annually.

12:30 – 12:45 p.m. Welcome Address by Pavan Parikh, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts; Michael Whiteman, Interim Dean, University of Cincinnati College of Law; Judge Pierre Bergeron, First District Court of Appeals

12:45 – 1:15 p.m. Rachel Rossi, Director, Office of Access to Justice, U.S. Department of Justice. A 15-minute presentation with Q&A focusing on the national government’s approach and work to improve access to justice on a national level and a “call to arms” about what that could look like locally.

1:15 – 2:15 p.m. Susan Choe, Executive Director, Ohiolegalhelp.org. A discussion about helping self-represented individuals through access to forms, processes, etc. (1.0 CLE)

2:15 – 2:30 p.m. Break

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Panel of Eviction Experts. A discussion regarding evictions on a local level (1.0 CLE)

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Renee Danser, Associate Director of Research + Strategic Partnerships, The Harvard Access to Justice Lab. A presentation of empirical research regarding civil justice, debt collection research, and the pilot project that will be implemented in Hamilton County (1.0 CLE)

4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Closing Remarks and Reception

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