Access to Justice
The State Bar of Arizona has incorporated Access to Justice in its mission statement and continues to expand its efforts to help at-risk Arizonans, consistent with the "devotion to the public good" included in the Lawyer's Creed of Professionalism.
The current Access to Justice Task Force, according to its mission statement, will "seek to develop additional consensus on funding source proposals and law reform efforts, and will propose a series of solutions, some of which the Bar may be expected to develop on its own, and other of which would require a partnership with the judicial, legislative or executive branches."
Based on recommendations received from the current task force, at its December 2011 meeting the Board of Governors agreed to:
- Distribute $400,000 for increasing Access to Justice to the LSC-funded legal aid agencies for programs to build infrastructure and leverage other forms of support as described in the Task Force Report
- Work with the Superior Courts to establish a system for appointment of counsel in civil cases; authorized president to assign an entity (Legal Services Committee (LSC) suggested) to take lead/develop policy; suggested to get presiding judges' feedback
- Continue to support the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education in its coordinating role
- Distribute $25K to the Foundation to develop a five-year fundraising plan; motion also included that representatives from the Legal Services providers and the Foundation report at least annually to the Finance Committee and the Board on the use of the funds and benefits received
- Provide ongoing financial support for legal aid programs and for the Foundation - continue support of sweeping 1% of SBA dues revenue to the Foundation
- Promote participation in the Dues Check Off Program - to provide $10,000 to be expended by the State Bar to improve the effectiveness of the voluntary check off program and other methods to increase participation
- Support efforts to develop loan repayment assistance programs for lawyers engaged in public service
- Encourage use of the Working Poor Tax Credit to provide funding to legal services agencies
- Set aside $15,000 to fund a future proposal, to be submitted directly to the Board of Governors, to create a central, statewide intake system for civil legal aid services
- Set aside $50,000 to be used to translate existing websites and self-service center materials into Spanish and Navajo
- Develop and promulgate a Model Public Agency Pro Bono Policy