Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2217005
 
 

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DIY in Family Law: A Case Study of a Brief Advice Clinic for Pro Se Litigants


Linda F. Smith


University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Barry Stratford


University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

2012

Journal of Law & Family Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2, p. 167, 2012

Abstract:     
Who are the individuals who utilize brief advice clinics? Are they the middle-income educated who take pride in self-advocacy? The moderate-income who, in this age of increasing income inequality, pinch pennies by not hiring private counsel? Or the very poor who do not have access to free legal services after these services have been slashed? And whatever the demographics of the clinic clients, how well does the brief advice clinic meet their needs? This case study of a free brief advice clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah answers these questions and more. What emerges is a portrait of very low-income individuals trying to handle complex, often contested cases on their own. Though highly grateful for the free clinic in the exit interviews, their frustrations rise as the referrals to legal aid prove unhelpful and the challenge of drafting their own court documents proves more substantial than they and their advisers had imagined. This study highlights honorable efforts by volunteer law students and expert family lawyers, but identifies gaps and weaknesses in the public’s access to justice.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 55

Keywords: Pro Se, Self-Represented, Underrepresented

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Date posted: February 14, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Smith, Linda F. and Stratford, Barry, DIY in Family Law: A Case Study of a Brief Advice Clinic for Pro Se Litigants (2012). Journal of Law & Family Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2, p. 167, 2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2217005

Contact Information

Linda F. Smith (Contact Author)
University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )
332 S. 1400 East Front
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

Barry Stratford
University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )
332 S. 1400 East Front
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

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