Who's in Charge Anyway? A Proposal for Community-Based Legal Services
Raymond H. Brescia
Albany Law School
Robin Sabrina Golden
Yale University - Law School
Robert A. Solomon
University of California, Irvine School of Law
Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 25, p. 831, 1998
Albany Law School Research Paper
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 33
Keywords: Low-Income Communities, Legal Services, Community-Based Legal Services
Date posted: August 14, 2010