A Society for Access to Justice
November 20, 2018
A quick Google search of the meaning of the word “society” yields the following phrases: “the community of people living in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws and organizations,” and “an organization or club formed for a particular purpose or activity.”
Those two definitions together exemplify the purpose of the CBF Justice Society. Equal access to justice is one of our country’s most fundamental principles, and it is our legal community’s common cause to take a leadership role in ensuring our country upholds that ideal. The many dedicated lawyers and legal professionals who are part of the Justice Society have taken these principles to heart. They lead by example and enable the CBF to make the longer-term commitment necessary to address larger systemic challenges to access to justice.
Those challenges include (1) the failure in the legal market for the middle class that leaves most middle-income people without access to affordable legal help, (2) the long-term underinvestment in government funding for legal aid, and (3) the related explosion of unrepresented people coming into a court system that was not built for this new reality.
Justice Society members make it possible for the CBF to address these challenges head on by developing innovative solutions through court system advocacy, legislative and policy advocacy, and community leadership. Recent examples of the types of groundbreaking programs these dedicated leaders are helping make possible include the Circuit Court Resource Center for People Without Lawyers, the new Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network, and the CBF’s internationally acclaimed Justice Entrepreneurs Project.
These initiatives are making a real difference, but there is much more to be done. We remain a long way from equal access to justice when two-thirds of the people in our community have little or no access to affordable legal help when they need it. The CBF’s prior track record and broad network of partnerships position us well to continue to tackle these larger issues going forward, and members of the Justice Society are leading the way to make that possible.
In this season of gratitude, we give special thanks to the many dedicated members of the Justice Society. On the CBF website, you can learn more about the Justice Society and how you can get involved.
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