"I have relationships with a number of Legal Aid lawyers, public defenders, and similar practitioners. I know, I see, and I experience that despite their Herculean efforts with all too scarce resources, the problem – or the opportunity – they confront is bigger than what all of them combined can bring to bear. And in this political day and age, those resources are shrinking. These front-line lawyers, these first responders to too many lives in legal crisis need help. They need help in addressing the legal needs of the least of these."
— Julian H. Wright Jr., Attorney, Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. and Member of the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission
In November 2005, the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission was founded to expand access to the civil justice system for people of low income and modest means in North Carolina.
A primary function of the Commission is to convene stakeholders to increase access to justice. Chaired by Cheri Beasley, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, the Commission’s 30 members include representatives from: the judicial, legislative, and executive branches; North Carolina State Bar and voluntary legal associations; legal aid organizations; law schools; and the philanthropic and business communities.
In addition to its role as a convener, the Commission works on a variety of strategies to increase access to justice in North Carolina: the development of materials and resources to support North Carolinians with civil legal needs who do not have access to attorneys in navigating the court system; the coordination of legislative strategy, education, and communications around funding for civil legal aid; the work of the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center, which seeks to increase access to justice through encouraging and facilitating pro bono legal service among North Carolina attorneys; and the assembly of collaborative, issue-based working groups to evaluate and author policy reforms to expand the legal access and remedies available to low income North Carolinians.
For more information about the work of the Commission please see our past Impact Reports below.
Members and staff of the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission are available to speak to your professional, civic, community, church, school, or other group about access to justice efforts in North Carolina. The North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission frequently coordinates speaking engagements on the following topics: the work of the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission, access to justice programs in North Carolina, North Carolina Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1 and pro bono legal service, civil legal aid in North Carolina, the legal needs of low and moderate-income North Carolinians, funding issues, and more.
If you are interested in hosting a speaker at an upcoming event, please contact Jared S. Smith, Programming and Engagement Associate.