Law Libraries and Access to Justice

By Emily Feltren

Last week I had the special opportunity to join AALL’s past president Steve Anderson for the Legal Services Corporation’s (LSC) 40th Anniversary Celebration in Washington, D.C. The event brought together stakeholders and supporters for several days of reflection on LSC’s successes and discussion of the challenges ahead. The event attracted policymakers from both sides of the aisle, current and former administration officials, state Supreme Court justices and judges, law school deans and faculty, business leaders, attorneys and others who participated in panels about how public and private sector leaders can help to improve access to justice.

The timing of the event couldn’t have been better as AALL’s Access to Justice (ATJ) Special Committee just published its new white paper entitled “Law Libraries and Access to Justice: A Report of the American Association of Law Libraries Special Committee on Access to Justice.” There was a high level of interest in the paper at the conference, as well as support for the need for partnerships with law libraries to support the ATJ movement. In particular, there was recognition that the ATJ leaders need to build bridges between communities and work together to address the needs of the disadvantaged.

Access to justice is a key element of AALL’s strategic directions. It is also part of AALL’s Public Policy Positions for the 113th Congress, which states: “Access to justice is essential for a well-functioning democracy. Law libraries provide access to legal resources and increase understanding of the legal system, helping to ensure equal justice for all.” AALL is committed to supporting the work of our members and the Legal Services Corporation to ensure “justice for all”.

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