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Access to Justice - Deborah L. Rhode

Hardcover

Published: 1st October 2004
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"Equal Justice Under Law." This promise appears on courthouse doors across the land. But it by no means describes what goes on inside them. Equal access to justice is one of America's most proudly proclaimed principles. And one of its most frequently violated.
In theory, the United States is deeply committed to individual rights. Yet few Americans can afford the legal representation necessary to exercise them. Only one percent of the nation's lawyers serve our poorest citizens, translating to one lawyer for every 1,400 poor people. The nation with the world's greatest concentration of lawyers has one of the least accessible systems of justice.
Written by America's leading expert on legal ethics, Access to Justice vividly chronicles the wide gap between the lofty aspirations and harsh realities of American justice. As Deborah L. Rhode demonstrates, America is overlawyered and underrepresented: there is too much law for those who can afford it and too little for everyone else. Although indigent defendants are entitled to legal representation, what satisfies that standard is an affront to the civilized world, and especially shameful for a nation that considers itself a world leader in human rights. Convictions are regularly upheld when lawyers are asleep, on drugs, mentally incapacitated, or even parking their car during the prosecution's case. The justice system is not only inaccessible for the poor; it is increasingly out of reach for the American middle class as well. Rhode's analysis also includes on the first comprehensive national study of lawyers' charitable pro bono work ever conducted, encompassing some 3,000 attorneys. The average lawyer, she finds, contributes less than half an hour a week and fifty cents a day in support of representation for those who cannot afford it.
Access to Justice avoids both simplistic lawyer-bashing and liberal lament. Rhode outlines what could and should be done to curb frivolous litigation, but focuses her attention squarely on the far greater problem of unnecessary expense and unaffordable remedies. A scathing indictment of America's legal status quo, Access to Justice presents no mere manifesto but a reasoned and realistic agenda for lasting reform.

"Rhode has written an important, thoughtful, and well-argued book."--Law and Politics Book Review "What makes Ms. Rhode such an effective advocate is not the piercing nature of her salvos--which are lethal--but the abundance of support for her arguments. Access to Justice is thoroughly researched and finely written."--New York Law Journal "Deborah Rhode has jolted a million lawyers with a wake-up call. She urges them to open the doors to the unmet need for justice by most of the people who cannot afford their services. A challenging book for anyone, not just lawyers and law students, who believes that justice can be done if we have the will to pursue it."--Ralph Nader, Consumer Advocate "Rhode has written an important, thoughtful, and well-argued book."--Law and Politics Book Review "What makes Ms. Rhode such an effective advocate is not the piercing nature of her salvos--which are lethal--but the abundance of support for her arguments. Access to Justice is thoroughly researched and finely written."--New York Law Journal "Deborah Rhode has jolted a million lawyers with a wake-up call. She urges them to open the doors to the unmet need for justice by most of the people who cannot afford their services. A challenging book for anyone, not just lawyers and law students, who believes that justice can be done if we have the will to pursue it."--Ralph Nader, Consumer Advocate "Deborah Rhode's Access to Justice offers a devastating and compelling depiction of the illusion of equal justice in the American legal system, not only for the poor, but for most Americans, and outlines a sensible and pragmatic roadmap for making the promise of equal justice for all a reality."--David Cole, author of No Equal Justice "Many critics of American law say the system is in crisis because it is flooded with frivolous claims. Deborah Rhode argues instead that the system is in crisis because it serves too few people, and serves the poorest of them, who are in the worst trouble, badly or not at all. If our society ever decides to make good on its promises of justice, this book will be an admirable manual and guide."-- Robert W. Gordon, Yale Law School "Based on decades of study, the book fights myths with facts, and offers a comprehensive look at the haphazard way Americans find help, or fail to, for their most serious legal problems. For anyone who really cares about the American system of justice, this beautifully written book is indispensable."--David Luban, author of Lawyers and Justice

1: Equal Justice Under Law: The Gap between Principle and Practice 2: Litigation and Its Discontents: Too Much Law for Those Who Can Afford It, Too Little for Everyone Else 3: Historical Perspectives: Legal Rights and Social Wrongs 4: Access to What? Law without Lawyers and New Models of Legal Assistance 5: Locked In and Locked Out: The Legal Needs of Low-Income Communities 6: Presumed Guilty: Class Injustice in Criminal Justice 7: Pro Bono in Principle and in Practice 8: A Roadmap for Reform Notes: Index:

ISBN: 9780195143478
ISBN-10: 0195143477
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 265
Published: 1st October 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.1 x 16.3  x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.51