Closing Argument

Issue: Winter 2022

Lectures Explore Access to Justice

Led by Utah Law, Pac-12 law schools explore issues and innovations in access to justice.

By Shelby Jarman.

An estimated 5 billion people have unmet justice needs globally, according to the World Justice Project. Whether that’s because legal services are too expensive, inaccessible, misunderstood, or not widely known, a large portion of the population is suffering from a lack of legal representation.

That’s why Dean Elizabeth Kronk Warner wanted to address what has become known as the access to justice crisis. “As the only state law school in Utah, we play a critical role in helping society to become better through access to legal resources, though legal reform and through education,” she said.

Joining forces with other law schools in the Pac-12 Conference, Kronk Warner organized a series of 10 lectures featuring faculty at those schools who are leaders and innovators in the access-to-justice space. The goal of this series was to give audiences the opportunity to listen and learn from experts, and to be inspired to continue this important work. Capitalizing on the rise of virtual events, these webinars were open and available for anyone to watch from any location.

According to Kronk Warner, the S.J. Quinney College of Law and the other schools in the Pac-12 conference are on the forefront of tackling the access-to-justice crisis.

“A lot of the states that the Pac-12 law schools are in are creatively experimenting with ways of closing the access to justice gap,” said Dean Kronk Warner. “There are some exciting things going on in the West that really position our schools to talk about these issues.”

Webinar topics ranged from medical debt advocacy to immigrant representation to racism within the justice system. Many of the speakers chose to focus their presentations on marginalized populations with a focus on intersectionality.

“Vulnerable populations have been left out of the legal system for a wide variety of historical reasons,” said Kronk Warner. “So there's a really important nexus between access to justice work and anti-racism work. I'm excited that several of the speakers in the series examined those intersections as well.”

Many of the webinars are available for viewing and qualify for CLE credit. Explore these innovative access-to-justice topics below.


Topics & Speakers

Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law, by Jody Armour, University of Southern California Gould School of Law

Responding to the Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan, by David Oppenheimer, University of California Berkeley School of Law

Justice Innovation, by Margaret Hagan, Stanford University Law School

Judges in Lawyerless Courts, by Anna Carpenter, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

Developing and Simulating Non-Lawyer Models of Medical Debt Advocacy, by Stacy Butler and Christopher Griffin, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

Identity By Committee, by Scott Skinner-Thompson, University of Colorado Law School

Inventing Latinos: A New Story of American Racism, by Laura Gomez, University of California Los Angeles School of Law

The Nature of Local Courts, by Justin Weinstein-Tull, Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

This is My America: Stories, Storytelling and Access to Justice, by Kimberly Johnson, University of Oregon School of Law

Due Process Deportations? The Limits of Universal Representation for Immigrants, by Angélica Cházaro, University of Washington School of Law