Guide to federal resources to expand tenant right to counsel
In 2020 and 2021, Congress created a number of new federal sources of funding that can be, and have been, tapped to expand tenant representation with an eye towards a right to counsel. We have produced a summary of these sources and their parameters, and also have a page devoted to cities/states that have allocated federal funds for tenant representation.
Guides to Starting a Pilot Project / Cost-benefit analysis
A "pilot project" is a project that provides counsel some number of civil litigants in order to a) measure effects (improved outcomes, cost savings, increase in judicial efficiency, etc.) and/or b) test different delivery models. Some pilots compare the results of those receiving full representation by an attorney to those receiving no representation, or limited representation, or self-help assistance, or some other form of assistance.
In order to assist with these efforts, the NCCRC co-authored a manual with Washington Appleseed for organizations wanting to start such work. The Manual is intended as a starting point. For those interested in developing a pilot project, we encourage you to look at documents from the existing pilot projects.
Additionally, the World Bank released a report examining cost-benefit studies and discussing how one goes about conducting such a study.
State-By-State Directory for Trial Judges on Appointing Counsel in Civil Cases
The American Bar Association, in cooperation with NCCRC, has released the Directory of Law Governing Appointment of Counsel in State Civil Proceedings. This comprehensive new resource provides a state-by-state analysis of when trial court judges can and cannot appoint counsel, based on statutes, case decisions, and court rules. The Directory is based on research conducted by the NCCRC, and is a helpful companion to the NCCRC website's "Status Map" that allows visitors to do a side-by-side comparison of all states on rights to counsel by subject matter. The entries in the Directory were recently updated as of 2017/2018; this was done with the help of many firms/associates, particularly those at WilmerHale and Schulte Roth Zabel.
Read the ABA's press release regarding the new Directory, and check out the articles in the Judicial Record (Director's Column), In Chambers (the magazine of the Texas Center for the Judiciary) and on the State Bar of Texas blog.
GUIDES TO the RIGht to counsel for parents in child welfare cases
Along with Vivek Sankaran of the University of Michigan Law School's Child Advocacy Law Clinic, the NCCRC has maintained a 50-state analysis of a parent's right to counsel in dependency and termination of parental rights cases.
Additionally, the National Association of Counsel for Children has released the Policymaker’s Guide to Counsel for Kids, which "explains why kids need high-quality attorneys and provides a blueprint for legislators to develop excellent children’s legal representation systems and strengthen state policy."
Local Human Rights lawyering project Handbook
The Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University’s Washington College of Law was a project that provided training, coaching and resources to legal aid attorneys and public defenders to integrate the human rights framework into their everyday work. The project, funded by the Ford Foundation, also encouraged attorneys to integrate human rights arguments into advocacy before judges and policy makers the Local Human Rights Lawyering Project. In furtherance of this, the project developed a written handbook, Human Rights in the U.S.: A Handbook for Legal Aid Attorneys, that aims to get practical and useable human rights information into the hands of legal aid attorneys interested in integrating human rights into their everyday work.
MEMO RESPONDING to Civil Right to Counsel concerns
The NCCRC understands that there are concerns and questions about civil right to counsel within the legal services and broader communities, such as questions relating to funding, implementation, continued autonomy of the existing legal services providers, and scope of new rights. To answer these questions, the NCCRC has authored an informational memo.
Guides in Fees/Fines Cases
The ABA has released its Ten Guidelines on Court Fines and Fees. Guideline 8 calls for the right to counsel for anyone unable to afford it and who is involved in a proceeding that could cause or lead to incarceration. This Guideline cross-references ABA Resolution 114, which also calls for a right to counsel whenever phsyical liberty is threatened.
On October 10, 2017, NCCRC Coordinator John Pollock participated in a webinar hosted by the on the right to counsel in fees/fines cases. The presentation is avaialble as an archived recording.
The NCCRC has also authored a legal/policy document on the right to counsel in fees/fines cases.
Finally, the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) produced its What States Can Do: Criminal Justice Debt guide that calls for a right to counsel for anyone facing incarceration.