Briefcase

Briefcase: Legal Literacy

Guest: Professor Alissa Rubin Gomez

Legal aid and pro bono are commonly used to provide legal help to low income individuals. However, demand for this assistance far exceeds supply. Alissa Rubin Gomez, with the University of Houston Law Center, is a legal services expert and discusses problems and solutions.

"Many people face legal problems that could have been prevented or minimized," Professor Rubin Gomez said. "Spouses going through a divorce who didn't know community property and debt continue through separation. An apartment repair ignored because a tenant didn't know to request it in writing. Legal literacy is key."

Gomez thinks education is the best answer. "Treat the law like public health, where so much emphasis is put on preventive care," she said. "This would include K-12 civics lessons as well as routine legal checkups. It would also help provide those who might not understand their legal rights to avoid needing legal aid in the future."

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