Can a Little Representation Be a Dangerous Thing?

22 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2016 Last revised: 2 Jul 2016

See all articles by Colleen F. Shanahan

Colleen F. Shanahan

Columbia University - Law School

Anna E. Carpenter

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

Alyx Mark

Wesleyan University Dept. of Government; American Bar Foundation; North Central College Dept. of Political Science

Date Written: March 7, 2016

Abstract

Access to justice interventions that provide a little representation, including nonlawyer representation and various forms of limited legal services, may be valuable solutions for low- and middle-income Americans. However, a thoughtful approach to improving access to justice efforts should recognize that a little representation may have risks. In particular, one potential risk of a little representation is that while it provides assistance with a discrete legal need in a specific moment, the nature of the assistance is incompatible with challenging the law. As a result, individual litigants do not have the benefit of legal challenges in their own cases and our legal system develops devoid of law reform that reflects the needs of low- and middle-income litigants.

Keywords: access to justice, empirical, legal services, poverty law, legal representation, expertise, professional expertise, law reform

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K23, K40, K41, K49

Suggested Citation

Shanahan, Colleen F. and Carpenter, Anna E. and Mark, Alyx, Can a Little Representation Be a Dangerous Thing? (March 7, 2016). 67 Hastings L. J. 1367 (2016); Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2731305

Colleen F. Shanahan (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

Anna E. Carpenter

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
84112 (Fax)

Alyx Mark

Wesleyan University Dept. of Government ( email )

United States

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

North Central College Dept. of Political Science ( email )

30 N Brainard St
Naperville, IL 60540
United States
6306375366 (Phone)

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