The stories below are highlighted examples of right to counsel coverage in the mainstream media. Our comprehensive bibliography contains all media stories, sorted by subject area.
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Listen to NCCRC Coordinator John Pollock along with NYLS Impact Center's Andy Scherer talk about right to counsel in the Trump era.
- Indiana Lawyer reported on a recent Pew study that calculated the number of Americans with a civil legal problem within the past year, and then the article went on to explore how the right to counsel in civil cases is being explored as a solution.
- The LA TImes penned an editorial generally supportive of the right to counsel in civil cases, and noted the rise of the movement around the country.
- An article in Slate features the title, "Liberals Abandoned Civil Legal Aid. Now They Need to Bring It Back", and discusses the right to counsel movement in detail.
- An article from Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity talks about the growth of the housing access to counsel and right to counsel movements.
- NCCRC Coordinator John Pollock appeared on WNPR's "Where We Live" program to talk about civil right to counsel.
- A piece in the Huffington Post describes the growth of the civil right to counsel movement across the country, and notes that while other types of innovations to increase access to justice (such as hotlines and helpdesks) help fill the current void, "the provision of less than full representation for some clients does not diminish the argument that full representation should be provided in those types of cases in the future."
- The Associated Press wrote an article, picked up by over 200 media outlets, featuring the NCCRC and the rise in civil right to counsel legislation across the country.
- An editorial in the Concord Monitor says that New Hampshire should "refuse to wake from the dream of 'civil Gideon' and a society where all have equal access to justice."
- The NY Observer covered the civil right to counsel movement both in New York and nationally.
- The award-winning Chicago radio show "This is Hell!" (WNUR Chicago 89.3 FM, broadcast every Saturday at 9 AM CST) did a full-length radio segment on civil right to counsel.
- A New York Times article discussing the push for civil legal aid quoted NCCRC Coordinator John Pollock as well as several NCCRC participants working on right to counsel pilot projects. The National Courts Monitor picked up on the piece, as did Richard Zorza's Access to Justice Blog.
- The Omaha Sun-Times named civil right to counsel one of "2015's Top 5" Civil Justice Issues".
- The Human Rights at Home blog, a part of the Law Professors Blog Network, recently focused on civil right to counsel.
- The New York Times ran a front-page, above-the-fold piece in 2013 about the lack of a right to counsel in civil cases. The article focused on the recent Turner v. Rogers case that held an indigent parent is not entitled to a lawyer even when facing extended prison time for failing to pay child support.
- In the Washington Post, former Vice President Walter Mondale lamented the lack of a right to counsel in civil cases and how we lag behind many European countries in this regard.
- The Voice of America discussed the recent push nationwide for a right to counsel in civil cases.
StoRies by case type
Parents and Children
- An article by Vivek Sankaran in the Chronicle of Social Change takes a look at the issue of parent representation in the child welfare system, including states like Mississippi that don’t guarantee counsel in such cases as well as the problems of counsel being underfunded and under-resourced.
- A piece on Al.com examines the lack of client-directed counsel for children in child welfare cases.
- An editorial in the The Seattle Times calls for a right to counsel for foster children and mentions the current litigation pending in Washington State, which NCCRC is assisting.
- The success in In re T.M. (in which the Hawaii Supreme Court recognized a right to counsel for all parents in abuse/neglect and termination of parental rights hearings) garnered significant media coverage. Legal Aid Society of Hawaii's Executive Director, Nalani Fujimori Kaina, appeared on Hawaii Public Radio to discuss the case, while the Associated Press ran a story that appeared in the Hawaii Star-Advertiser, as well as in newspapers from Houston to Connecticut. Maui TV News and The Garden Island ran their own stories about the case. The Clearinghouse Review also featured a piece by attorneys in the case.
- The Wall Street Journal took a look at the growing eviction right to counsel movement. The NCCRC was mentioned in the article, as well as our colleagues at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.
US News and World Report covered the rise of the movement to establish a right to for tenants in eviction cases.
Next City covered Newark's enactment of a right to cousnel in eviction cases.
NPR's Marketplace Morning Report radio program took a look at the way cities are pursuing eviction prevention as an effective tool for reducing homelessness, and how the right to counsel fits into that. It highlights the successes in NYC and San Francisco.
A New York Times op-ed,"Give Tenants Lawyers" from October 9, calls for each state to "give all low- to moderate-income tenants free legal counsel, the same kind offered to people charged with criminal violations."
The Bangor Daily News flags the lack of a right to counsel in Maine housing cases, the data from other states showing that counsel reduces the eviction rate, and the $132,000 cost for Bangor to provide a right to counsel for the same percentage of tenants as landlords that have counsel (75%).
An article in San Francisco Attorney Magazine discusses the city’s new eviction right to counsel and how it fits into the larger national movement. The City has set aside $5.8 million over the next two years to pay for the new right.
- The Arizona Republic has a story about fixing evictions in Arizona that looks to the housing right to counsel movement in other states, while an article by the Wisconsin Bar shines a light on national and local housing right to counsel efforts.
- Curbed looked at how the fight for a right to counsel in housing court would fit into the 2018 elections.
- As San Francisco weighed whether to pass a ballot initiative establishing a right to counsel for evictions, NCCRC Coordinator John Pollock discussed why a housing right to counsel makes sense in a story by KALW.
- Matthew Desmond, the author of Evicted, gave a live-streamed talk for the Urban Institute on eviction data and touched on the issue of the right to counsel in housing court.
- Legal Aid Society of of Cleveland attorney Hazel Remesch, who received a grant to explore the right to counsel in housing cases in Cleveland, appeared on both News 5 Cleveland and WCPN (a NPR affiliate) to talk about the issue.
- The Maryland Daily Record's editorial board has come out in support of the right to counsel in housing cases.
- The Guardian covered the rise of the housing right to counsel movement and the new initiatives in various states.
- Stateline, Spotlight on Poverty, Next City, Baltimore Sun, and Nonprofit Quarterly have all weighed in on the growing call across the country and the work of the NCCRC. The Nonprofit Quarterly piece touches on NCCRC participant Matt Desmond’s book Evicted, the recent story in Next City about NYC’s increase in representation coupled with eviction decline, the NYC bill to provide a right to counsel in housing cases, the Public Justice Center’s rent court report, and the D.C. housing pilot.
- Media coverage of New York City's new housing right to counsel has been extensive, including articles in Vice and Fast Company that have put the success into the context of the growing national movement, and other coverage by Newsweek and the New York Times. See other media coverage of this successful campaign.
- Truthout features a piece noting that only 1 in 7 immigrants are represented, pointing to the growth of state and local efforts to provide representation, taking a deep look at the New York Immigrant Family Unity Program (NYIFUP, which provides universal representation in NYC) and Vera’s attempt to replicate it nationwide via its SAFE Network, and wrapping up by calling for a right to counsel in immigration court.
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver took a hard look at America's immigration courts, particularly the lack of a right to counsel for children.
- The class action about the right to counsel for children in immigration proceedings generated a lot of press attention. So has the funding for immigration representation in New York City, California, San Francisco, and Oakland.
- The Supreme Court of New Jersey's refusal to address the right to counsel in domestic violence cases was the subject of an op-ed in the New Jersey Law Journal by NCCRC Coordinator John Pollock.
- WTNH News8 in Connecticut ran a TV spot discussing a bill (now enacted) to create a legislative task force on expanding the right to counsel in the state. The piece featured an interview with Connecticut Bar President Bill Clendenen, who has supported the bill. The bill was also featured in a story Fox 61 Connecticut and in two articles in the Connecticut Law Tribune. Read more about support in Connecticut.
- The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Turner v. Rogers (finding no right to counsel for indigent parents in child support civil contempt proceedings, even when facing prison), received widespread criticism in the public sphere, such as from the New York Times and The Atlantic, as well as in a Concurring Opinions online symposium that discussed the case shortly after it came down.
Stories on particular State and national initiatives
- The United States has signed several treaties that obligate it to address the issue of providing counsel in civil cases, and the media has been covering the work. The National Law Journal featured a piece by NCCRC participant Risa E. Kaufman, executive director of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, about how the U.S. failure to provide counsel in civil cases violates various international treaty obligations, and what steps the U.S. should take to address this. This work was also featured on NPR, and Risa blogged from Geneva on the Human Rights Commission's review of the United States' compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
- The California right to counsel pilots have gathered a lot of media attention! NCCRC participants Bob Rothman (the former Chair of the ABA section of Litigation) and Jim Brosnahan (Senior Partner at Morrison & Foerster) appeared on Lawyer 2 Lawyer (audio) to discuss the pilots and the need for counsel in foreclosure cases, while Marketplace (an NPR-carried program) also discussed the California right to counsel pilots legislation. For more, see the NCCRC bibliography section on the California pilots.
- Pennsylvania's civil legal aid hearings have brought civil right to counsel to the forefront. WHYY in Pennslvania has run articles on the public hearings and on how the lack of a right to counsel contributes to the "justice gap" (audio), while Law.com ran a piece about judicial sentiment that that Civil Gideon Is gaining traction in Pennsylvania. Meaniwhile, a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette piece noted how the recent hearings have often raised the question of "Civil Gideon."