More than half of California households had problems last year that are civil legal issues, but nearly 70% of them received no legal help.
That is one of the stark findings of the State Bar’s California Justice Gap Study.
The study, which surveyed nearly 4,000 California adults, spotlights a harsh reality: There is an enormous gap between the need for civil legal services and most people’s ability to access legal help.
Think this is only a problem for low-income Californians? Think again. The study confirms that California’s justice gap reaches well into the middle class. For a variety of reasons, legal services are out of reach for the majority of Californians.
We need fresh thinking around delivery systems, regulatory reform that could stimulate the creation of new service models, experimentation and innovation.
Because the State Bar’s mission includes furthering access to legal services, we have a task force exploring these kinds of far-reaching alternatives. The State Bar Board of Trustees will begin reviewing the task force’s report and the hundreds of public comments it received in 2020. This is the beginning of an important dialog, already under way nationally and internationally, about potentially significant change.
To read more of Alan Steinbrecher and Sean SeLegue, Special to CalMatters, article, please click here.