New Task Force to Explore Solutions to the Justice Gap

By Benita on April 07, 2014//Leave a comment

We are proud and happy to announce the appointment of John Adkins, our Law Library Director, to the new State Bar Civil Justice Strategies Task Force. Members of the new task force were chosen from a mix of State Bar Trustees; lawyers from all types and sizes of firms, legal services programs and self-help centers, bar associations of all kinds, law schools; and the public. 


The Hon. Julia Kelety, a long-time judicial trustee for the San Diego Law Library, was gratified the task force included Mr. Adkins, stating “John’s position as Director of the Library, combined with his passion for public access to justice, makes him the perfect person to serve on the task force. I know that he will be a very valuable member of the group.”


The 20-member task force will analyze the reasons for the justice gap and propose potential solutions. The justice gap is the difference between the need for civil legal assistance by low- and moderate-income Californians and the resources available to meet that need. In a series of public hearings, this spring and summer, the task force will interview various groups who have previously attempted to resolve the justice gap, and study creative solutions from other states and countries. The task force will develop a proposed action plan with recommendations for the State Bar Board of Trustees. 


“I am honored to be included in this groundbreaking study. This is important work that I have been championing on a local level for some time now” says Mr. Adkins, a long-time advocate of access to justice issues. Mr. Adkins recently hosted the second meeting of the Legal Futures Summit, a group he formed to bring together leaders from different aspects of the San Diego County legal community to narrow the justice gap through partnerships and collaboration. Mr. Adkins feels that his summit is a great launch for working on this state-wide task force. “Sometimes people forget that each county’s public law library exists for this very purpose: to provide free self-help services to pro pers and indigent defendants,” he stated.




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  1. Tia Wallach

    I think this task force is an excellent idea as there is clearly a need for such a large segment of our population to have meaningful access to the court. I look forward to some useful and practical recommendations. The task force could not have chosen a more passionate advocate than John Adkins to explore public access to justice!

    • JohnnyZ

      Oh *blush* – full disclosure: Tia and I have a mutual admiration society thang going on! Thanks for the kind words, my friend.

  2. I'm not the Gerber baby

    Matt Taibbi’s new book The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap should be required reading for your task force if you haven’t read it already.

    • JohnnyZ

      Thanks for the recommend! We’ll check it out.

  3. Sheryl Bjornson

    I have been a resident of San Diego for the past 8 yrs. I have lived in Chicago IL, & Idaho, with my most recent San Diego California. I was a single parent most of my adult life, I now unfortunately have 2 of my children who are also single parents one in San Diego and the other in Idaho. California by far has the best resources available to all who seek it. It is my belief the reason for the Gap in California, specifically San Diego is folks just don’t know about the resources available to them. That is why I started my web site Resources for single moms.( will be up in a few weeks and the law library is mentioned ) To show woman where to go to find the answers to the every day challenges they may face knowledge is power. I think one of the biggest challenges that make the legal system so challenging and creates the biggest gap is the paper work involved , the court documents needed to enter the system, the court rules being different in each County ect… I think the law library could mock and make classes available to the public that of which is now available such as” The family Law facilitator program” at the court house. The lines are long each and every day, all not having the resources to hire an attorney, yet have the need to get in front of the judge to have their family disputes settled, If single mothers are not getting child support, they lack money to hire an attorney, if they are raising and caring for their children on one persons salary , they can not afford and attorney. The family law area is the fastest and most time consuming cases heard in todays courts. I also believe that although it is just one person asking for justice and help ultimately it effects whole communities in the long run. So I believe that could we could fill a huge GAP, assisting & helping woman , men, families to figure out what forms are needed, and how to fill them out, what rules to follow, lets simplfy the process, most individual have no problem getting in front of a judge and talking or pleading in front of a judge, it is the process to get there that is so intimidating. Second Gap cost of Attorney’s for representation. Why is it that a person who has the money to hire a top end attorney gets better representation ? It should not be the case but sadly it is. deals are worked out amongst fellow attorneys and some attorneys have their way with some of the Judges, the court does not want individuals to go to trial rather come to terms with a mediator which is really the role of the ATTORNEY. Just the facts. What if the State hired attorneys to handle family law cases, the attorneys would be paid by the hour, just like public defenders. Every one would be on the same playing level, follow the States law, the attorneys fill out the forms for the clients just like we go to get our taxes done to file our taxes, again to complicated for most, so we go to H & R block, AARP volunteers. . It is my opinion the Gap is the process we have to follow, the lack of teachings of how to get through the complicated process , and the cost of Attorneys to get us through the process.

    • Gina

      Sheryl – thank you for your thoughtful comments. Kudos to you for developing a resource to help other single mothers. The Law Library works closely with the local Bar Association and legal aid organizations to have classes and clinics to help people understand and get through the court process. Hopefully even more collaborations and streamlining of procedures will come out of this task force.

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