Podcast: The Role Libraries Play in Closing the Justice Gap

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WebJunction and the nonprofit Legal Services Corporation (LSC) partnered to deliver national online training for public library staff to strengthen access to civil legal justice through public libraries. LSC launched a podcast called Talk Justice, which explores ways to expand access to justice and illustrates why it is important to the legal community, businesses, government, and the general public.

The latest episode, The Role Libraries Play in Closing the Justice Gap, features Brooke Doyle, Project Coordinator for WebJunction’s Access to Civil Legal Justice project. Brooke is joined by Emily Florio, Senior Research Services Manager at Hogan Lovells and President of the American Association of Law Libraries; Diane Rodriguez, Assistant Director at San Francisco Law Library and Vice President of the American Association of Law Libraries; Laura Tuggle, Executive Director of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services; and host Lynn Jennings, LSC Vice President for Grants Management.

Presenters discuss how valuable libraries can be to increasing access to civil legal justice. Laura Tuggle nicely captures the perspective of legal aid agencies: “Libraries are great ways to stretch those limited dollars…libraries are a very trusted resource that are community-based. Often in the most in-need communities, libraries are how we reach into our rural areas. They are the hub, they are the go-to.”

Listen to the full podcast of Talk Justice, Episode 9, to learn more about the role libraries are playing in closing the justice gap.

For those interested in learning more about the access to justice movement, these additional episodes in the Talk Justice series provide a great sampling of some of the issues involved:

Episode 4 – Evictions and the Pandemic

Due to the pandemic, the United States is facing the severest housing crisis in its history, says leading eviction scholar Emily Benfer. In a conversation with LSC President Ron Flagg, Benfer discusses the societal costs of this surge in evictions and the pivotal role legal aid lawyers play in easing those effects.

Episode 5 – COVID, the Courts and the Practice of Law

Texas Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, and ABA President Patricia Lee Refo join LSC President Ron Flagg to discuss how the COVID pandemic is transforming the courts and the practice of law.

Episode 6 – Challenges to Delivering Legal Services to Rural and Tribal Areas

Host Jason Tashea discusses the daunting challenges to delivering civil legal services in rural and tribal communities with Nikole Nelson, Executive Director of Alaska Legal Services Corp., Rudy Sanchez, Executive Director of DNA-People’s Legal Service, and Rebecca Rapp, General Counsel of Ascendium Education Group who is helping form LSC’s upcoming Rural Task Force.

Episode 7 – The Face of Poverty in America – An Interview with Chris Andrade

LSC Vice Chair Father Pius Pietrzyk interviews Chris Arnade, author of “Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America.” Leaving behind a 20-year career on Wall Street, Arnade decided to document poverty and addiction in the Bronx and later across the country. His work looks at the resilience of what he calls “America's Back Row”—those who lack the credentials and advantages to get ahead.

Learn more in WebJunction course series

Visit oc.lc/legal-justice to learn more about how your library can create more access points to civil legal justice for your community, to enroll in the course series Creating Pathways to Civil Legal Justice, and to explore more on WebJunction and Legal Service Corporation’s training initiative Improving Access to Civil Legal Justice through Public Libraries.