The Lawyers Justice Corps: A Licensing Pathway to Enhance Access to Justice
14 Pages Posted: 28 May 2021
Date Written: 2021
The idea for establishing a Lawyers Justice Corps (LJC) emerged out of efforts to solve a problem: how to license lawyers at a time when COVID-19 had expanded the need for new lawyers while also making an in-person bar exam dangerous, if not impossible. We—the Collaboratory on Legal Education and Licensing for Practice --proposed the Lawyers Justice Corps to provide a different--and better--way of certifying minimum competence for new attorneys while at the same time helping to create a new generation of lawyers equipped to address a wide range of social justice, racial justice, and criminal justice issues. When implemented, the Lawyers Justice Corps will accomplish two critical and related goals: enhancing access to justice and creating an effective and equitable method of licensing lawyers.
This essay begins by outlining the general contours of the Lawyers Justice Corps. It then explains how the Corps will enhance access to justice for the many underserved clients in our society. In a third section, the essay describes the racial injustice perpetuated by the traditional bar exam, as well as the exam’s failure to adequately measure lawyer competence. A final section shows how the Lawyers Justice Corps would provide a licensing path that both trains for and better assesses competencies required for law practice. The essay concludes that the time is ripe for multiple alternative licensing paths, including the Lawyers Justice Corps.
Keywords: Lawyers Justice Corps, lawyer licensing, access to justice, bar exam, lawyer competencies
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