Access to Legal Information for Self-Represented Litigants: The Role of the Academic Law Library

18 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2020 Last revised: 13 Jan 2021

See all articles by Jennifer Elisa Chapman

Jennifer Elisa Chapman

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law; University of Maryland - Thurgood Marshall Law Library

Date Written: June 30, 2020

Abstract

Self-represented litigants face many hurdles navigating the American legal system and effectively representing themselves in litigation. Limited access to information is a significant impediment to self-represented litigants effectively accessing justice. Rhode notes, the American adversarial legal system “presupposes opponents with roughly equal incentives, information, resources, and capabilities.” This, unfortunately, is not the reality for most litigants, especially those who cannot afford legal representation and must “go it alone.” For those litigants, access to information is essential. This paper examines the role American academic law libraries play in providing access to legal information to public patrons, specifically self-represented litigants.

Keywords: Pro Se, Self represented, law library, academic law library, library, access to justice, libraries, law libraries

Suggested Citation

Chapman, Jennifer Elisa, Access to Legal Information for Self-Represented Litigants: The Role of the Academic Law Library (June 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3639581 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3639581

Jennifer Elisa Chapman (Contact Author)

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States

University of Maryland - Thurgood Marshall Law Library ( email )

501 West Fayette Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
United States

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