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.


General Stories


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  • 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 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 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 Guardian covered the rise of the housing right to counsel movement and the new initiatives in various states.





Domestic Violence

  • 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.

Debtor's Prison


  • 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.