NOTE: 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 About Civil Right to Counsel


  • A piece in the Huffington Post notes 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.

  • ABA President Jim Silkenat discussed the need to focus conversation on a civil right to counsel in the Memphis Daily News.
  • 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.

Coverage of Specific Events or Cases

  • Nonprofit Quarterly has a fantastic article about the growing call for representation in housing cases.  It 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.
  • An editorial in the The Seattle Times calls for a right to counsel for foster children and mentions the current litigation pending in the WA Court of Appeals, which NCCRC is assisting.

  • WTNH News8 in Connecticut ran a TV spot discussing a pending 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.

  • New York City's proposed legislation to provide a right to counsel in housing cases, and a hugely successful December public event about the bills, have been covered extensively by the media, including by Newsweek and the New York Times.  See other media coverage of this effort.

  • 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.
  • The victory in In re T.M. (Hawaii Supreme Court declares 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 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.
  • Maryland's leading efforts on right to counsel have not gone unnoticed by the press:
    • For the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, WYPR's "Midday with Dan Rodricks" program focused on the failures of the states to properly fund and implement Gideon, and as part of that program, the Public Justice Center's Debra Gardner appeared and briefly discussed the connection to civil right to counsel (her segment starts at 41:00).
    • Maryland Access to Justice Commission Executive Director Pamela Ortiz appeared on WYPR's Maryland Morning to discuss the new statewide civil right to counsel task force.
    • WYPR's Maryland Morning ran an audio piece entitled Lines Between Us: Are the Scales of Justice Equally Weighted?
  • Wisconsin's NBC News 15 ran a feature on the petition filed with the Wisconsin Supreme court to create new civil right to counsel rules.
  • 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.