"Full Access" to Our Civil Justice System: A Mission for Every Community, Every Program, Every Member.

In 1997, we declared that:

"100 percent access can be the agenda of every state legal services community."

Smith, Ken and John Scanlon,
"IOLTA: A Leadership Platform That Can Make 100 Percent Access a Reality,"
ABA Dialogue, July, 1997

This declaration defines a central focus of our work. We believe it is possible to achieve full access. We believe that within the current decade we will see communities -- perhaps many of them -- who have achieved the goal of Full Access to the civil justice system for their poorest and most vulnerable citizens. We are seeking partners in making this vision a reality in state and local communities -- click here for information.

How will it be done? ...The three cornerstones.

Communities are already working on it! Full access is being pursued by identifying and applying the best work in the country in three strategic areas:

  1. Resource development. We will generate new funding streams, recruit new partners, attract new volunteers. Resource development means more than traditional fundraising. It's all about making linkages between what we do and what others (funders, agencies, partners, volunteers...) want and are willing to join us in achieving. "Marketing" legal services, in the sense of generating opportunities for connecting our vision with people who can fund it, is crucial for progress on our Full Access agenda.
  2. Service delivery technology. "Technology" is more than computers. It is the whole toolkit we have at our disposal to meet the needs of a low income community. We could double, triple or quadruple the "bang" we get from the "bucks" we are spending now, just by switching to best-practice models that legal services innovators across the nation have developed for delivering services up and down the entire spectrum of legal needs -- from providing simple information and advice to challenging public policies that unfairly burden entire segments of the low income population.
  3. Leadership. Even if the funding sources are there and the delivery models are available, achieving Full Access will require leadership. Leadership is about making something happen that wouldn't have happened anyway. In every community seeking Full Access, someone will have to declare that it is possible and publicly advocate for it!

Contact us for more information on how you can be involved in promoting Full Access in your community.