Increasing Access to Justice Takes a Village and an Arsenal

By Judy Meadows, Montana State Law Librarian and Co-Chair, Montana Commission on Self-Represented LitigantsThe Montana Commission on Self-Represented Litigants, created in 2000 by order of the Montana Supreme Court, has worked to create and approve easy to use forms for pro ses, as well as explanations of how to proceed in court. We have partnered …

Limited Scope Representation: Increasing Access for Pro Se Litigants

By Klaus Sitte, MLSA Litigation DirectorWho would have thought that the American Bar Association would participate in and encourage programs designed to help pro se litigants? After all, the ABA is a membership organization composed of lawyers, not pro se litigants, right? Well, that’s exactly what happened when the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence sponsored …

MLSA’s Self-Help Law Unit: Empowering Clients to Advocate for Themselves

By Jillian Haynal, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, MLSA Self-Help Law UnitThe story is familiar. I hear it at least a few times every day. The client is crying. There is hurt, disappointment and panic in her voice. Her tears are justified because her world is crumbling. She’s just been served with court papers. …

What’s Technology Got to Do With It?

By Liz Keith, Pro Bono NetIn Montana and around the country, legal aid organizations, courts and their partners are seeing a large and growing number of people facing legal needs on their own. These individuals either do not qualify for legal aid or cannot be served because of insufficient resources, yet they can’t afford to …

A Vision for Justice- Justice Beth Baker, Montana Supreme Court

Recently I had the privilege of touring the National Archives in Washington, D.C.  Displayed there, within an elegantly somber and dimly lit rotunda, are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of our United States and the original Bill of Rights.  Just next door, in its own vaulted space, is one of few remaining copies in …

Services for the Self-Represented: Every State Needs a Strategy

By Richard Zorza, Self Represented Litigation NetworkIn recent years national access to justice leaders have come to realize that the access problem will never be solved unless we put in place a broad range of services for the self-represented.  In some courts 80 or 90% are self represented, and in some types of courts (such …

MLSA Executive Director Alison Paul Announces New Advocacy Blog

As the Executive Director of MLSA, I am pleased to welcome you to MLSA’s new advocacy blog.  Across the country, legal aid programs and others promoting access to justice have made the conscious decision to promote broad based advocacy, in addition to helping clients one case at a time.   At MLSA, broad based advocacy means …