not look familiar or attractive.
You are the one
you’ve been waiting
for—the leader is you.
Get involved politically to protect your
justice system. As I
type this today, two
of our Supreme Court
Justices are at the Capitol testifying against
legislation aimed at
politicizing the justice
system. Let our lawmakers know that our
Court does not stand
alone; we too care
about an impartial justice system.
Get involved with
your legal community Join a Section or
Committees), which assist in enhancing
the administration of justice.
Volunteer your time with an organization that provides free or discounted legal
services to the community, such as the
Modest Means Project ( www.azflse.org/
modestmeans/), or help a veteran through
the Wills for Heroes Program (http://
Volunteer in your local community.
Teach civics at a school, write an article for
a local paper, or serve as a mock trial judge.
Be an ambassador for the justice system.
This is not a “one and done” mission.
Access to justice is a fundamental right, but
giving it meaning in a modern world requires
a sea of change in the way we approach our
Few modern phrases carry as much weight as the
phrase Access to Justice. It rolls off your tongue as though it came straight
from the Bill of Rights and, like
those rights, “there is a lot there.”
What does access to justice
Access to justice means courts
free from undue influence; and
judges ready, willing, and able to
make earnest decisions without fear
of repercussions—either political or
Access to justice means ensuring that ordinary citizens have
the meaningful ability to redress
wrongs—not just for compensation, but for civil rights, victim’s
rights, shelter, education, domestic
violence and other abuse.
Access to justice means reasonable laws and rules of general applicability that favor just, efficient, and
fair decision on the merits—not
just for some, but for all, and without regard to wealth, power, resources,
Access to justice means equal protection and due process for everyone. It means not turning our backs on children, veterans, the homeless,
or those who are mentally, physically, or emotionally impaired.
But much like the gradual warming of the Earth, our justice system
is facing a similarly steady and considerable challenge. It didn’t happen
overnight, and there’s no one person to blame.
It’s been happening for a while now, and we’re all to blame.
It’s up to us to do something. We have to change; we have to
Some lawyers will say “why?” They’ll think about the “good
old days” when there was less paperwork, when judges and
lawyers chatted like golfing buddies, and when the practice of
law was more like a scene from Mad Men.
But like the rising sea levels, times have changed. The world
is busier and far more complex. Expecting our “horse and
buggy” justice system to make it on our modern highway is
So, then, what can be done? What can you do?
First and foremost, keep an open mind. Change comes in
lots of different shapes and sizes and, when you see it, it may
by Geoffrey M. Trachtenberg PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
Access to justice
citizens have the
meaningful ability to
Access to Justice