National Center for Access to Justice Launches Justice Index Results Reveal Best Practices in Access to Justice in all 50 States
New metrics show disparities in number of attorneys for people in poverty,
support for people with limited English proficiency, access to justice for people
with disabilities, and help for people proceeding without lawyers
View Index Here
New York, NY, February 26, 2014 – The National Center for Access to Justice
(NCAJ) today announced the launch of the Justice Index – its new online tool which
compares the quality of access to justice in statewide justice systems. The Justice
Index is the first of its kind, which uses cutting edge interactive map technology to
show the geographical distribution of access to justice across the US.
In its first installment, the Justice Index presents data in four categories reflecting
key elements of access to justice in statewide justice systems, including: i) the
number of attorneys for people in poverty; ii) the amount of support for people with
limited English proficiency; iii) access for people with disabilities; and iv) help for
people proceeding without lawyers.
The Justice Index presents specific new findings on access to justice in the states,
including the following key findings:
• Some states have fewer than one civil legal aid attorney per 10,000 people
who are poor while there are 40 attorneys for every 10,000 people across the
• 24 percent of states do not have a rule authorizing court clerks to provide
informational assistance to people who have no lawyers.
• 45 percent of state judiciary web sites do not provide information in any
language other than English.
• 25 percent of the states don’t yet assure quality by using language
interpreters that are “certified.”
• 22% of states allow judges to charge a deaf or hearing impaired person for
the cost of a sign language interpreter.
• 47 percent of states do not authorize judges to take steps to ensure that
unrepresented individuals are fairly heard.
The Justice Index also provides two types of overall scores allowing comparisons of
states to one another: i) a composite score shows the overall performance of each
state in all categories of data combined; ii) a categorical score shows the overall
performance of each state in each individual category.
“The Justice Index promotes data-driven conversation on how best to deliver on one
of the core promises we all make to each other as Americans: that everyone must be
equal before the law,” said David Udell, Executive director of NCAJ. “One of our main
goals of the index is to start the conversation about where best practices are in place
or needed in our state justice systems.”
The Pro Bono Effort that Created the Justice Index
NCAJ is guiding the development of the Justice Index as part of an unprecedented
collaboration among multiple pro bono supporters.
• The Pfizer Legal Alliance (PLA) led the research for the Justice Index.
• A team of 10 attorneys and staff from Skadden Arps (a PLA firm) carried out
the research to produce the first installment of the Justice Index.
• Additionally, teams of law students from Cardozo School of Law and
Pennsylvania School of Law contributed to the research.
• UBS also helped to carry out the research for the Justice Index.
• Deloitte analyzed the data, calculated the indices, and deployed the latest
visualization tools to display the results in the Justice Index.
• MSDS, the NYC based web design firm, built the Justice Index web site that
houses the data, making it available to the public.
“The PLA is taking part in this signature project to help realize the NCAJ’s vision of
both discovering the degree to which our country assures access to justice and
creating a roadmap to strengthen our justice system going forward,” Ellen Rosenthal,
Chief Counsel of the PLA said. “We are thrilled by this pro bono project which is in
complete alignment with the PLA’s model of collaboration and innovation.”
“By engaging the public with fact-based data, in an interactive and thought
provoking way, we hope to enhance transparency and accountability within the
justice system,” said Jeremy Perisho, partner, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services
LLP. “Deloitte takes great pride in knowing that what we do best – applying our skills
and expertise to client engagements – can accelerate positive, societal impact.”
about the National Center for Access to Justice, visit: www.ncforaj.org
. The NCAJ will
be releasing the second installment of the Justice Index in 2014.
Requests for Modifications to the Justice Index
The NCAJ invites requests at firstname.lastname@example.org
for clarification or correction of data in
the Justice Index. For requests received on or before May 31, 2014, NCAJ will
determine whether to modify the Justice Index. Information provided after May 31,
2014 will be incorporated into Phase 2 of the index.
About The National Center for Access to Justice
The NCAJ is the academically affiliated non-partisan law and policy organization
dedicated exclusively to increasing access to our nation’s civil and criminal justice
systems. In carrying out its reform initiatives, NCAJ works closely with the bar, the
judiciary, law schools, the legal aid community, and many other stakeholders
including social services agencies and client groups. NCAJ’s tools include litigation,
reports, public education and public advocacy, conferences, legislative drafting, and
the latest data visualization tools. NCAJ makes its home at Cardozo School of Law
where it periodically teaches the Access to Justice Clinic. In building the Justice
Index, NCAJ is working with Pfizer, the Pfizer Legal Alliance (Skadden Arps and other
PLA law firms), Deloitte, MSDS, UBS, Cardozo School of Law, and Pennsylvania
School of Law. The Justice Index is an NCAJ Project. For more information about the
About the Pfizer Legal Alliance
Established in 2009, the PLA is a collaborative partnership between Pfizer and 15 law
firms that has transformed the way legal services are delivered and valued. The
cornerstones of the PLA are innovation, efficiency, relationship-building and
enhanced communications between Pfizer’s in-house lawyers and outside counsel. All
PLA firms work for Pfizer on a flat fee basis exclusively and together perform the vast
majority of the company’s legal work across the globe.
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