Equal access to justice for all simply doesn’t happen when attorneys do not make a space for modest means clients in their practice. It’s not easy to make that space and it requires thoughtfulness and the will to create change. Yet, having watched Fair Shake’s young attorneys take that challenge and continuously work to mold a space for modest means clients, I think that attorneys of all background and practices (that means you too, government attorneys) can step up to the plate.
What got me thinking about this? On Thursday, June 4, 2015, Pace Law School and the Pace Environmental Alumni Council issued the 2014 Nicholas A. Robinson Award for Alumni Achievement to me for “outstanding contributions to environmental law.” While the recognition by my peers was very meaningful to me, the award should have great meaning to other attorneys, law students, community organizers, and community leaders: taking risks to try to meet the challenge of equal access to justice for all brings great reward.
For environmental legal needs or any other legal needs of modest means clients, we at Fair Shake don’t want to be alone. So, consider today the day that we are issuing a challenge to attorneys across the nation: figure out how you can provide greater access to justice – access to you - for modest means clients. We’ll call your ideas – big and small - for providing equal access to justice in everyday practice Your Fair Shake. We’re interested in any and all of your practical tips for increasing equal access to justice. As you develop methods, share your ideas for providing #YourFairShake to modest means clients by:
· Sending us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, or
· Tweeting about it by using #YourFairShake
Once we get a collection of ideas, we’ll republish the collection for all to see on our blog. When everyone has representation who needs it, that will be cause for great celebration.