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Thursday, December 7 • 2:15pm - 3:45pm
A New Route to Access to Justice: Appointment of Counsel Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

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In the wake of a lack of a right to counsel for many types of basic human needs cases, courts and legislatures have experimented for years with measures to help unrepresented litigants. But pro se litigants with cognitive disabilities often cannot benefit from self-help services made available to the general public. This panel will explore the concept of courts appointing counsel as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Since 2007, Washington State has made hundreds of ADA appointments across the state pursuant to an authorizing court rule and is expanding this rule to administrative proceedings. Courts and legislative bodies in other states such as Oregon and Utah have developed policies encouraging or prohibiting such appointments, and a federal court held that litigants with cognitive disabilities in immigration removal proceedings are entitled to legal assistance under the federal equivalent of the ADA. We'll talk about the justifications for such an approach, how to build support, and some of the tricky issues involved in providing representation in this context.


Ira Burnim

Legal Director, Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Ira Burnim is the legal director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington, D.C. Formerly, Burnim was legal director of the Children's Defense Fund, senior attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a fellow at the Legal Assistance Foundation in Chicago, and law... Read More →

Meagan MacKenzie

Attorney, Northwest Justice Project
Meagan MacKenzie is a statewide advocacy coordinator with Northwest Justice Project in Olympia, Washington. She coordinates and supports the work of legal services advocates from several organizations across the state around issues related to public benefits, administrative appeals... Read More →

Clare Pastore

Professor of the Practice of Law, USC Gould School of Law
Clare Pastore is professor of the practice of law at the USC Gould School of Law where she teaches and works with students and nonprofit organizations on litigation and other advocacy. Her courses include Poverty Law, Suing the Government, and the Access to Justice Practicum. Clare... Read More →
avatar for John Pollock

John Pollock

Coordinator, National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel
John Pollock is a Staff Attorney for the Public Justice Center who has served since 2009 as the Coordinator of the National Coalition for the Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC).  The NCCRC works in 41 states to establish the right to counsel for low-income individuals in civil cases... Read More →

Thursday December 7, 2017 2:15pm - 3:45pm EST
Meeting Room 3 Meeting Room Level