Beyond Elite Law: Editors' Preface

Beyond Elite Law: Access to Civil Justice in America (Samuel Estreicher & Joy Radice eds., Cambridge University Press 2016) xi-xiii

NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 16-36

University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 310

5 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2016 Last revised: 14 Dec 2016

See all articles by Samuel Estreicher

Samuel Estreicher

New York University Law School

Joy Radice

University of Tennessee College of Law

Date Written: December 2016

Abstract

We are justly proud of the American legal system and the lawyers and judges who make it work. Our system, to the envy of much of the world, takes law seriously, aspires to reduce the gap between the law on the books and the law as lived, and strives to subject all within its remit to the rule of law. And yet, it remains, at its core, a system of elite law largely for the elite.

We are all engaged in elite law, whether as lawyers or academics. Each year, the law schools produce eager, bright graduates ready to provide legal services to a thin layer of the population — either by working for the major law firms that serve corporate America or for NGOs that practice law with an “impact" on important social issues. Some fortunate graduates find such work; others work for overburdened legal services or public defender officers, or hang a shingle, or practice in small firms although they are usually poorly prepared for the clientele they will encounter. Still many others drop out of the legal system entirely — perhaps their legal education will prepare them for a political or business career, or will not be relevant at all.

We hope in this book to spark a conversation that helps move us beyond elite law, to better align existing legal resources with the people who need representation or simply assistance in navigating bureaucracies but are not wealthy enough to access our “Cadillac" legal system and not poor enough to qualify for the limited supply of publicly supported legal aid.

Keywords: civil justice, access, self representastion, pro bono, nonattorney representation, elite law, legal services, poverty, median income, civil rightst

JEL Classification: D64, I31, K40

Suggested Citation

Estreicher, Samuel and Radice, Joy, Beyond Elite Law: Editors' Preface (December 2016). Beyond Elite Law: Access to Civil Justice in America (Samuel Estreicher & Joy Radice eds., Cambridge University Press 2016) xi-xiii; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 16-36; University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 310. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2827794

Samuel Estreicher (Contact Author)

New York University Law School ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
(212) 998-6226 (Phone)
(212) 995-4341 (Fax)

Joy Radice

University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )

1505 West Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States
865-974-6773 (Phone)

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