The 2010 National Meeting of State Access to Justice Chairs took place on Saturday, May 15, 2010 at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, Phoenix, Arizona.

In the opening plenary session — “Moving Justice Forward:  The Money and the Message” — Meredith McBurney, ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives, focused on communication in funding requests.  She compared how funding from 1980 has changed dramatically over the years, and there is more diversity in 2009.

She illustrated that in 1980, civil legal services funding were:
88%  LSC
9%  other federal
1%  state/local
2%  other

The funding sources in 2009 were:
26%  LSC
20%  other public
16%  state legislature
17%  IOLTA
6%  legal community
7%  foundations
2%  United Way
6%  other

Her advice regarding the message for money:  (1)  tailor the communication to the audience; (2) consider the importance of the messenger;  and (3)  make the message personal so that it will be more powerful.

Bonnie Hough, California Administrative Office of the Courts, reported that the California judiciary received $11 million to develop a project on the right to counsel in certain civil cases, such as housing, domestic violence, conservatorships and guardianships, elder abuse, and custody representation.  She explained that they are trying to equalize the balance of power issues where one person is represented and the other side is not.

Judge Lora Livingston from the 261st Judicial District, Austin, Texas, and Judy Meadows, Montana State Law Library, emphasized that collaboration with librarians is key to creating better access to justice for citizens.

Peer State Breakout Groups, Topical Breakout Groups, and Table Talks followed the opening plenary session.

L to R:

Robert LeClair, Executive Director, Hawaii Justice Foundation
Patricia Eads, Assistant Director, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii
Charles Greenfield, Program Counsel, Office of Program Performance, Legal Services Corporation  — at the National Meeting of State Access to Justice Chairs, May 15, 2010, Phoenix, Arizona.