Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Professor Clare Pastore (USC) published an op-ed in the LA Times yesterday arguing for a right to counsel for indigents in eviction proceedings, employment and healthcare disputes, custody proceedings, and other disputes involving basic human needs.
Every day, Americans without access to legal counsel unnecessarily lose homes, jobs, retirement benefits, healthcare and custody of their children. This is because in American, we have not yet recognized a right to counsel in civil cases, except in a tiny number of narrow areas. Indigent clients with the law on their side often find themselves losing to well-funded opponents simply because they have no means of fighting back.
The problem is particularly acute in the current housing and financial crises. I previously posted on this here, with links to the ABA, the Brennan Center, and the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel.