Archive for July, 2011

Job o' the Day: Chili city in OH-I-O calling fellows!

By Lauren Forbes

The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati and its affiliate Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC  (“Legal Aid Society”), seek candidates for a fellowship from September 2011 through August 2012.  Legal Aid serves Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, Highland, and Warren Counties in southwest Ohio.  Our staff totals approximately 95, including 43 attorneys and 15 paralegals.  Legal Aid has worked successfully with public interest fellows over the years. Recently we had several public interest fellows including Skadden, Equal Justice Works, and the Brooks Consumer Law Fellowship.  Our intention is to continue the work started in each fellowship and to have fellows remain with the program after the fellowship period. Legal Aid has a long and successful commitment to furthering the professional development of its staff.

Qualifications

Successful candidates will have a strong interest and experience in civil legal services or public interest law, strong academic records, excellent organization and communication skills, and the demonstrated ability to handle a demanding workload.  Successful candidates will have taken the Ohio Bar Exam in the summer of 2011 (or earlier).  Applicants who are admitted to practice law in Ohio, or who are licensed in another state and eligible for temporary admission before taking the Ohio Bar Exam, will also be considered.

To view full listing, visit PSLawNet (login required).

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LSC's 2010 Annual Report Sheds Light on Growing Need for Legal Services

By Jamie Bence

Last week, Legal Services Corporation (LSC) released its 2010 Annual Report, detailing the growing need for legal services in the wake of the recession, and difficult choices made by providers facing diminished resources:

The future is brighter for the millions of Americans who have been served by the 136 nonprofit civil legal aid programs that are funded by the Legal Services Corporation.  These LSC program closed more cases in 2010 than the year before, and their casework reflected our nation’s slow recovery from the
economic downturn. Matters involving foreclosures, landlord-tenant disputes, unemployment, bankruptcy and consumer finance, and, sadly, domestic violence all increased in 2010 compared to the previous year.

At many LSC-funded programs, cases related to the economy have increased for three consecutive years. During this period, Congress provided LSC with budget increases, with the Corporation receiving $420 million in funding for Fiscal Year 2010.

Still, the number of Americans living in poverty and eligible for LSC funded services continues to grow, and many LSC programs are unable to meet the legal needs of those who sought civil legal assistance. Despite a 7.7 percent rise in LSC funding in 2010, significant sources of non-federal funding were essentially flat or declined, constraining the expansion of legal assistance.

LSC President Jim Sandman described the importance of finding innovative solutions in difficult times:

Collaboration across the access to justice community is particularly important in an era of reduced resources and increased demand for civil legal services. By coordinating with and reaching out to others, I hope to increase the efficiency of service delivery to clients, avoid unnecessary duplication of effort, and streamline LSC’s dealings with the programs it funds.

As Congress considers another round of cuts to LSC funding, the report underscores the growing need for legal services.  Read the complete report here to learn more about LSC’s outlook.

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Contemplating Law School? Sign Up for a Webinar on What to Know about Student Loans

Our friends at Equal Justice Works are putting on a student debt webinar next month.  “Plan Before You Borrow: What You Should Know About Educational Loans BEFORE You Go to Graduate School” will be webcast on August 10th and 24th.  For more detail, including registration info, visit this Equal Justice Works webpage.

Interested in government or public interest work after graduating? This webinar will help you plan ahead and make sure you can take full advantage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, the most significant law affecting public service in a generation.

 The webinar will focus in detail on:

  • The importance of taking out the right kind of loans
  • How to consolidate or reconsolidate your previous student loans
  • How the College Cost Reduction and Access Act can free you to pursue a public interest career

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Public Interest News Bulletin – June 22, 2011

By: Steve Grumm

Wow, it’s hot.  That’s about all I can muster for a greeting this morning.  This week’s Bulletin includes news running from legal services funding hither and yon to volunteer federal prosecutors in New Jersey to “Courtmageddon” in the Bay Area.  There are a couple of news items out of Chicago, which may or may not have been included because they would give me an opportunity to note that the Glorious Philadelphia Phillies Baseball Franchise marched into Wrigley Field and took 2 of 3 from the Cubbies this week.  And hello to my friends at the Chicago Bar Foundation!  Well it turns out I could muster a proper greeting after all.

This week: the Texas legal services community gives props to those who went to bat for state funding; don’t run, walk to benefit Chicago Volunteer Legal Services!; speaking of the Windy City, a look at the work of the Legal Aid Bureau; Minnesota’s 2012-13 budget plan a mixed bag for public interest lawyers; Uncle Sam is recruiting volunteer federal prosecutors?; Lone Star pro bono; the proposed 26% drop in LSC funding is “cutting to the bone”; speaking of funding, it’s tough times for Garden State legal services programs; a North Carolina county cuts funding to an “aggressive” legal services program; “Courtmageddon” in San Francisco; how will LSC cuts impact Western Michiganders?; some legal services shuffling in Louisiana.    

  • 7.21.11 – From a press release entitled Texas Access to Justice Commission and Foundation Applaud the Texas Legislature for Providing Funding for the State’s Legal Aid System: “In a tremendous show of bipartisan support, the Texas Legislature has appropriated $ 17.5 million for civil legal aid and $7.6 million for county indigent defense programs in general revenue during the recent Special Session. Gov. Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 2 that included an amendment for funding civil legal services on July 19.  This funding makes up for the $20 million awarded in the 2009 Session to mitigate the decline in interest on lawyers’ trust accounts (IOLTA) funds, a primary source of funding for legal aid. IOLTA funding has declined more than 75 percent since 2007.”
  • 7.20.11 – when it comes to record-setting heatwaves, the biggest concern among public interest lawyers is typically the health of elderly, low-income clients who may not be able to stay cool at home.  But the heat can affect the public interest community in other ways.  To wit (and on a lighter note): with Chicago temps exceeding 100 degrees, “[o]fficials on Wednesday made the decision to turn [the 18th annual Race Judicata 5K fundraiser] into a walk, with food and beverages served before and throughout the untimed ‘race,’ due to concerns over high heat.   Proceeds from the event benefit the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation, Chicago’s first and pre-eminent pro bono provider of free civil legal aid to citizens with financial need.”  Race Judicata took place yesterday, 7/21.  Kudos to the participants, and here’s to your continued hydration!  (Report courtesy of NBC Chicago.)
  • 7.19.11 – Minnesota’s FY 2012-13 budget plan (which characterized as a “working agreement” between the governor and state legislators), is a mixed bag for public interest lawyers.  According to the Twin Cities Daily Planet (great name!), civil legal services funding would be cut.  “State funding for civil legal services has already fallen below 2006 levels. The working agreement cuts civil legal services by nearly $2 million in FY 2012-13, or seven percent…”  On the other hand, courts and public defenders will see a funding boost.  As to defenders: “There is a $2.5 million increase, or two percent, in funding to help address a deficiency in public defenders, who represent low-income clients in criminal cases. Past budget cuts have taken a significant toll – in half the state’s counties, there no longer are sufficient attorneys on staff to represent clients at their first court appearances.”
  • 7.18.11 – volunteer AUSAs?  United States Attorneys are getting creative in the midst of a DOJ hiring freeze.  From the New Jersey Law Journal: “Newly announced openings at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey could provide valuable experience and serve as a resume booster, but there’s one thing they won’t provide: a paycheck.  The office on Wednesday posted the job openings in Newark and Camden for uncompensated ‘Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys,’ following the recent example of other offices across the country….  The full-time positions — for which the office requests a one-year commitment — are open to newly minted lawyers and those wrapping up judicial clerkships… Ineligible are attorneys who were deferred by but received a payment from a law firm, as well as those who will be receiving any sort of compensation from a firm during the unpaid employment period.”  And here’s an interesting twist: “…[S]pecial assistant hires will not necessarily have an advantage in seeking a job with the office. In fact, they are prohibited from applying for any position in the office that might arise during the unpaid employment term.  That restriction was put in place so that candidates who can financially afford to take on the unpaid position ‘don’t necessarily get an immediate advantage’ over outside candidates.”  The piece notes that U.S. Attorneys in Connecticut and Pennsylvania have also posted for volunteers.  Here’s some more coverage from Main Justice.
  • 7.18.11 – a piece in the Texas Lawyer highlights some of the Lone Star State’s all-star pro bono firms, namely Akin Gump, Fulbright & Jaworski, Hunton & Williams, and Weil Gotshal.  As for pro bono among Texas’s large-law firm community more generally: “The State Bar of Texas and the American Bar Association recommend that attorneys donate 50 hours each year to pro bono activities. Twenty-two of the largest firms in Texas provided Texas Lawyer their pro bono statistics for 2010. The 22 firms had an average full-time equivalent (FTE) Texas attorney count of 5,457 in 2010 and donated an average of 33 pro bono hours per attorney.”
  • 7.16.11 – the Express-Times reports on the toll that large state budget cuts will take on Legal Services of Northwest Jersey: ” [T]he nonprofit program took its biggest hit in recent years this month from a severe budget cut.  Democrats asked for an additional $5 million in next year’s Legal Services budget. Instead, Gov. Chris Christie cut $5 million…. By the time the Christie cuts hit, [Legal Services of Northwest Jersey] — which serves Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties — will have lost 31 percent of its budget since 2008. They’ve cut staff, implemented salary freezes, stopped retirement contributions for employees, and curtailed benefits. But its caseload remains substantial.”
  • 7.16.11 – amidst all the recent discussion of politicians cutting legal services funding out of fiscal necessity, here’s some nostalgia: politicians cutting legal services funding because the program is “going overboard” in its “aggressive” representation of clients.  We’re not talking about much money here, but in the current economic climate every dollar counts.  And North Carolina-based Pisgah Legal Services is losing all of its funding from Henderson County.  From the Hendersonville Tribune: “The [county] commissioners retained removal of the county’s entire $16,745 that would have gone to Pisgah Legal Services….  This change late in the budgeting process was led by commissioners’ Chairman Mike Edney. Edney, an attorney himself, explained he is among those who have seen indications of or who are concerned with allegations that PLS is overzealous. He cited as an example charging its attorney fees from landlords…. But PLS Executive Director Jim Barrett countered June 15 to the commissioners that there were very few cases of charging attorney fees, typically from a landlord defeated in court for an illegal practice. He said the average case costs $523 in PLS legal fees.”
  • 7.15.11 – California has recently suffered two “-mageddons.”  One, Carmageddon, seemed a bit silly to your author, an East Coast city dweller who has difficulty grasping how the weekend closure of a freeway would cause such havoc.  The second, up in the Bay Area, is anything but silly.  This one is “Courtmageddon.”  Earlier this week we blogged about the looming closure of 25 out of 63 courtroom in San Francisco Superior Court.  As reported by the Bay Citizen: “[T]he cuts are the result of a state budget that eliminated $350 million from courts throughout California, leaving the San Francisco Superior Court with a $13.75 million deficit.  ‘This is the worst crisis in legal services that I can think of in my professional career in more than 20 years,’ said Bill Hebert, a San Francisco lawyer who is president of the State Bar of California.” 
  • 7.15.11 – the Herald-Palladium reports on how the proposed LSC funding cut would affect Western Michiganders.  If the $100+ million cut goes through in Washington DC, LAWM would stand to lose about $500,000.  According to the program’s deputy director, Mary Drolet, “It would probably mean closing one office [among its seven].”  The trouble, of course, is that there is no shortage of clients.  “Drolet said 30 percent of people living in the 17 counties are eligible for services because they meet the income standard, which is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. ‘With those kinds of numbers the need is greater than it’s ever been,’ she said.”
  • 7.15.11 – in the Pelican State, WAFB reports that Southeast Louisiana Legal Services is opening a Baton Rouge office:  “SLLS was recently selected by the federal Legal Services Corporation (LSC) to receive federal funding for civil legal aid in Baton Rouge and other parishes previously served by the Capital Area Legal Services. The LSC grant began in July. But, the entire LSC grant for the Baton Rouge area will not be available to SLLS until January.”

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Job o' the Day: Army Corps of Engineers in NM

By Lauren Forbes

The weather isn’t the only thing that is hot. Check out this opportunity with the Army Corps of Engineers in Albuquerque, NM.  Serve as Trial Attorney representing the Government before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals. This representation includes areas such as interview/prepare witness, prepare pleadings, respond to discovery requests, prepare motions and briefs, conduct depositions and participate in hearings and trials. Represent the Contract Officer while in conference with appellant and/or appellant’s council. Prepare litigation reports concerning difficult legal and/or factual issues, large sums of money and with capable opposing legal talent. Review civil works projects feasibility reports, design memoranda, cost-sharing agreements, project partnership agreements and other project documents. Support to the Albuquerque District Regulatory Program and handling environmental law matters arising from Civil Works projects. Render legal advice to the Commander and/or Deputy Commander regarding program and project management.

Qualifications
Specialized experience: Applicant must have three or more years of professional legal experience, acquired after being admitted to the bar, commensurate with the duties and responsibilities of the position. Graduation from an ABA-Accredited Law School in the top 25% of the class or an advanced law degree such as an LLM may substitute one year of the required professional legal experience. To be creditable this experience must include experience in formation and litigation of Government Contracts and experience with Environmental law. (Experience must be documented in your resume.)

An applicant must have successfully completed a full course of study in a school of law accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) and have the first professional law degree (LLB or JD).  Only degrees from an accredited college or university recognized by the Department of Education are acceptable to meet positive education requirements or to substitute education for experience.

To view full listing, visit PSLawNet (login required).

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The Recent Dip in Pro Bono Hours Isn't A Threat to Access to Justice. Collapsing Funding Is.

By: Steve Grumm

New Pro Bono Data Are Interesting, But…

Recently the American Lawyer released its annual pro bono report, which showed that BigLaw pro bono hours dipped markedly in 2010.  From AmLaw’s overview:

“Average pro bono hours for lawyers at Am Law 200 firms plummeted 8 percent in 2010 to their lowest level in three years, reversing a decade of steady growth. The overall average percentage of lawyers who did more than 20 hours of pro bono work dipped 5.2 percent.”

The Pro Bono Institute’s Esther Lardent, writing last week in the National Law Journal, took issue with the “melodramatic headlines” used in reporting those numbers.

“The ‘doom and gloom’ headlines overlook some important facts and figures….  Although it is true that major firms contributed significantly fewer hours of pro bono service in 2010 than in the previous two years, it must be noted that 2010’s law firm pro bono hours were still the third highest in history. That — after the worst recession in living memory and profound, destabilizing and continuing changes in virtually every aspect of the finances and operations of major law firms — is, in context, an accomplishment.”

…The Real Story Is…

Lardent is right.  The pro bono number changes are largely a function of fluctuations in 1) staffing and 2) fee-paying business at law firms.  (Law firms had downsized their ranks of attorneys by 2010, so the pool of potential pro bono volunteers was smaller.  And then, fee-paying business started to pick up, making BigLaw attorneys busier and leaving less time to volunteer.)  Does this explain all of the drop-off?  Maybe not.  But it explains a good bit of it.  And Lardent’s point above should not be lost: 2010’s hours were the third highest historical total.  Not too shabby. 

Another thing that should not be lost is pro bono’s end goal.  Most pro bono advocates devote their time to helping poor people achieve meaningful access to the justice system.  These advocates rely on the support of legal services providers and pro bono clearinghouses to best serve clients.  And right now, the real threats to access-to-justice are 1) the underfunding of Legal Services Corporation grantee organizations and 2) the continued slumping of non-LSC sources (chiefly, IOLTA revenues and state appropriations) which affects LSC grantees, non-LSC providers, and pro bono clearinghouses alike.

A National Law Journal piece published earlier this week highlights the financial troubles plaguing the legal services community, particularly in light of a threatened drastic slashing of LSC’s appropriation:

Pressure on the budgets of legal services programs has been building for three years, since the recession began to eat away at their various sources of funding. It began with the drop in interest rates, cutting into the money from lawyer trust accounts known as IOLTA funds, and it continued with state reductions.

The latest federal proposal by U.S. House Republicans is a 26% cut in congressional funding for the Legal Services Corp. (LSC), which with $404 million in funding makes grants to 136 groups across the country. The proposal follows a 4% midyear cut approved by Congress in April.

Directors of legal services said they’re facing painful choices, as they’re forced to make plans for scaling back their organizations to levels that existed in the 1990s

As LSC had noted in a July 6 press release, the proposed 26% slash in its funding being considered by the House could have a drastic impact on providers and their client communities:

Funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) would be cut by 26 percent in Fiscal Year 2012 under a proposal announced by the House Appropriations Committee [on July 6th]. The Committee bill proposes a $300 million budget for LSC—rolling back LSC funding to a level not seen since 1999.

LSC’s preliminary estimates show that about 235,000 low-income Americans eligible for civil legal assistance at LSC-funded programs would be turned away if the Committee proposal were enacted.

LSC-funded programs by the end of 2011 project net staff reductions of 445 employees, including more than 200 attorneys, because of layoffs and attrition, according to survey responses provided by 121 of the 136 LSC-funded programs.  In the responses, 57 percent of the programs project budget deficits for 2011 totaling more than $19 million. Forty-two percent of the respondents said they had imposed a salary freeze, and 31 percent anticipate reducing employee benefits this year.

Some would argue that any cuts in legal services funding can be offset by the contributions of pro bono advocates.  They cannot.  Pro bono attorneys rely on legal services providers and clearinghouses to identify client communities, conduct intake, diagnose clients’ legal problems, and in some circumstances to begin handling cases before the pro bono attorneys take the reins.  Even after that point, many pro bono volunteers look to the legal services community for continued support, technical assistance, and training.  I experienced this firsthand while working as an attorney in a pro bono clearinghouse, and I hear it over and over again from pro bono counsel at law firms.

A large-scale slashing of legal services funding can not simply be offset if volunteer attorneys bump up their hours.  That is a short-sighted “solution” that demonstrates ignorance about the legal services infrastructure, and which will do little to help poor people achieve justice. LSC President Jim Sandman put it succinctly in a recent interview:  “The biggest challenge facing legal services today is lack of funding.”  Pro bono, Sandman went on to note, is a “critical supplement” to the work that legal aid lawyers do.  And he’s right.  But pro bono is not a substitute for adequately funding legal services providers.

…And Here’s What’s Next for the Access-to-Justice Funding Debate…

The LSC funding rollback to $300 million made it through the full House Appropriations Committee’s markup, and it very well could be passed by the full House in the next several days.  Undoubtedly legal services proponents in the Senate and the Obama Administration will push for a more robust appropriation.  And the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, among others, is on the case.

Nonetheless, it is very troubling that at a time when client need is so high and resources are already strained, legal services funding is on the chopping block.  Now is the worst possible time to slash the vital funding that will allow legal services providers to maximize not only their own resources, but also to leverage the pro bono resources that play a signficant role in ensuring that “equal access to justice” is an achievable end, not an empty slogan.

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Job o' the Day: Counsel for Princeton University

By Lauren Forbes

Princeton University is seeking a University Counsel.  Serving as the primary counsel for The Office of the Dean for Research and the offices that report to the Dean for Research, including Technology Licensing and Research and Project Administration, the University Counsel will meaningfully participate in supporting Princeton’s mission to be a leading research university in the world. The University Counsel will have primary responsibility, as well, for the OGC’s support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s PPPL.

Working in close collaboration with the Vice Provost for International Initiatives, and supporting academic departments and faculty initiatives, the University Counsel will be the primary “international” lawyer in the OGC, facilitating, and often personally providing, appropriate in-house and external (domestic and foreign) advice and assistance to the Vice Provost and others across campus.

The OGC prides itself on being a collaborative group of 21st century counselors, often serving as thought partners for our colleagues throughout the University. As such, the expectations of the office generally, and of its lawyers, are dynamic not static.

Specific responsibilities will include:

  • Advising the Dean for Research, the Vice Provost for International Initiatives, and faculty on research collaborations with other institutions, including foreign institutions.
  • Advising the Dean for Research and the Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA) regarding contracts, export control issues, relations with government agencies, and compliance matters.
  • Providing counsel and guidance on federal regulations that govern laboratory practices involving laboratory animals and controlled substances.
  • Attending monthly meetings of the University Research Board and serving as an active member of the Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects.
  • Providing advice and counsel to the Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) on issues including technology transfer, license agreements, material transfer agreements, start-up technology companies, conflicts of interest, and patent assignments and transfers. (While a background in patent law is not required, the University Counsel should have a working knowledge and informed perspective regarding patent law as it pertains to issues affecting University research and technology licensing.)
  • Overseeing outside counsel that may be engaged to litigate intellectual property disputes.
  • Advising PPPL leadership, interacting with US Department of Energy counsel and counsel for other national laboratories, and providing varied legal support to the PPPL.
  • Working closely with the Vice Provost for International Initiatives, and the General Counsel, to develop and enhance the OGC’s support of the University

To view full listing, visit PSLawNet (login required).

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Social media calls…Legal aid advocates answer!

By Lauren Forbes

The social media storm has not passed over legal aid advocates.  The growth of social media offers new ways for advocates to connect with and learn from one another. Which resources are advocates using? A recent survey conducted by the editorial team of Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy attempted to learn more about poverty lawyers’ current use of online resources.

By a wide margin, the most popular online resource used for legal research or professional development is listservs, which are used by 81% of respondents. Only 29.1% of respondents indicated that they use RSS newsfeeds to stay on top of relevant news and information. In addition, although more respondents reported using social media than in earlier surveys, professional use of social media is still quite limited.

A more detailed summary of the survey results is available at Techno.la, a technology blog for legal aid and public interest advocates. The editors of Clearinghouse Review are grateful to the survey respondents for their input. The information collected in this and other surveys will be extraordinarily helpful as we plan future content for Clearinghouse Review.

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Job o' the Day: Environmental Law Institute Fellow

By Lauren Forbes

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) announces its annual fellowship for an outstanding recent law school graduate.

The Institute: ELI envisions a healthy environment, prosperous economies, and vibrant communities founded on just law and policy. To this end, we develop creative and practical law and policy solutions to enable leaders across borders and sectors to achieve environmental, social, and economic progress. ELI builds the skills and capacity of tomorrow’s leaders and institutions; researches and analyzes complex, pressing environmental challenges; promotes and disseminates the best thinking through dialogue and print and electronic media; and convenes people with diverse perspectives to enhance understanding through debate. ELI works with partners across the United States and around the world. We are independent and non-partisan.

The Position: The law fellowship program is a longstanding component of ELI’s Research and Policy Division. The law fellow works closely with ELI attorneys and other professionals, including ELI’s international partners, to advance environmental protection by analyzing existing legal tools, developing new ones, and crafting innovative approaches to implementation. This may require considering how environmental protection is affected by other laws and policies that are related to environmental laws—e.g., those governing energy, taxation, and land use. Assignments include legal research and writing tasks across all ELI project areas, and the law fellow may be asked to make public presentations and assist in facilitating training activities. The law fellow is expected to assume significant responsibility.

To view full listing, visit PSLawNet (login required).

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"Courtmaggedon" in California Stalls Most Civil Cases

By Lauren Forbes

California’s dire budget situation almost seems apocalyptic insofar as what’s happening.  The Bay Citizen reports that as of October 3rd, the San Francisco Superior Court will close will 25 of its 63 courtrooms, all in the civil division. No criminal courtrooms will be shuttered.

“We’re broke,” Presiding Judge Katherine Feinstein told reporters, “and we’re left with one painful option for all practical purposes: to dismantle our court.”

The cuts are the result of a state budget that eliminated $350 million in operating costs from courts throughout California, leaving the San Francisco Superior Court with a $13.75 million deficit.

While individuals will still be able to file lawsuits, it will take five years before most cases move beyond filing. Feinstein said it will take 18 months to obtain a divorce or settle a child custody dispute.  Only eviction cases and those facing dismissal because they run up against statutory time limits will proceed to trial, she said.

As one might imagine, this will have a tremendous impact on individuals’ access to justice, and those who are low-income are likely to bear the biggest brunt of this closure.  “There is going to be tremendous suffering on a whole range of issues touching on all aspects of human behavior,” Peter Keane, dean emeritus at the Golden Gate University School of Law, said in an interview.

“People won’t be able to get their disputes resolved. People injured in accidents won’t be able to get their medical bills paid for, and if people can’t get their medical bills paid, they’ll be on the street. It has a terrible ripple effect particularly for people who are on the edge in this economy,” Hebert said.

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