Who's in Charge Anyway? A Proposal for Community-Based Legal Services

33 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2010  

Raymond H. Brescia

Albany Law School

Robin Sabrina Golden

Yale University - Law School

Robert A. Solomon

University of California, Irvine School of Law

Date Written: 1998

Abstract

The “modern” era of the provision of legal services to low-income communities can be traced back to the 1960s, although legal services have been offered to the poor in the United States have for over a century. This modern era has been marked by external, political threats to these services, particularly from elected officials in Washington, D.C., as well as an internal critique, one that questions the legitimacy of the legal services approach, one typified by individualized services provided to discrete individuals.

In this article, the authors re-examine this service mode, its benefits and deficiencies. They argue that the individualized service model does not represent the best delivery model for such a finite resource as legal services. They argue that legal services programs can improve the quality of their services by establishing community-based programs that emphasize closer links with community groups and community institutions. By moving in this direction, legal services programs will be better situated to mobilize community resources and reflect community priorities.

A community-based program will avoid the top-down, lawyer-dominated priorities that the authors believe exist today.

Keywords: Low-Income Communities, Legal Services, Community-Based Legal Services

Suggested Citation

Brescia, Raymond H. and Golden, Robin Sabrina and Solomon, Robert A., Who's in Charge Anyway? A Proposal for Community-Based Legal Services (1998). Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 25, p. 831, 1998; Albany Law School Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1658490

Raymond H. Brescia (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

Robin Sabrina Golden

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Robert A. Solomon

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

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