Many individuals face legal problems, but they do not have access to legal help. Renee Knake is a Professor of Law and the Doherty Chair of Legal Ethics, and her research addresses the access to justice crisis. Professor Knake discussed reasons some do not get the help they need.
“In some instances, cost can be a barrier,” she said. “The middle-class typically doesn’t qualify for legal aid, and may feel that a private attorney is too expensive. But, studies show that the main factor isn’t cost. It’s a lack of information.”
To expand citizens’ access to justice, Professor Knake offered these suggestions. “The internet helps, but people still lack knowledge about their legal needs,” she said. “Lawyers should be available where the public banks and shops. Legal checkups, similar to an annual physical, should be widely available. And more schools should provide public education programs, like The People’s Law School offered by UH.