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Law school symposium to explore access to justice 50 years after passage of the Criminal Justice Act

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

LAWRENCE – In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Criminal Justice Act, a federal judge and scholars from across the country will explore issues surrounding access to the nation’s courts during a University of Kansas School of Law symposium this week.

“Access to Justice” will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, at the Adams Alumni Center, 1266 Oread Ave. Co-sponsored by the Shook, Hardy & Bacon Center for Excellence and Advocacy and the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy, the program is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

“Access to justice is more than just helping people approach the courts,” said Paige Blevins, third-year KU law student and senior symposium editor for the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy. “People have the right to seek some kind of remedy for conflicts through our legal institutions. Without access, those remedies are only available to a certain subsection of our society and not to all.”

The Criminal Justice Act of 1964 and its subsequent amendment in 1970 established a comprehensive system for appointing and compensating lawyers to represent defendants who are “financially unable to obtain an adequate defense.”

Judge Edward C. Prado of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit will open the program with a keynote address on “The Criminal Justice Act: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.” Other panelists, who will discuss access to justice in both criminal and civil settings, include:

  • Russell Engler, professor of law and director of clinical programs, New England Law
  • Ronald Flagg, general counsel, corporate secretary and vice president for legal affairs, Legal Services Corporation
  • David Gottlieb, professor, Wake Forest University School of Law
  • Peter Joy, Henry Hitchcock Professor of Law and director, Criminal Justice Clinic, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
  • Rebecca Love Kourlis, executive director, Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, University of Denver, and former justice for the Colorado Supreme Court
  • Laurel A. Rigertas, associate professor of law, Northern Illinois University College of Law

Scholarship from the symposium will be published in a 2015 issue of the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy. Three hours of continuing legal education credit, including one hour of ethics, will be offered for Kansas and Missouri.

For more information and a complete agenda, visit the symposium website. Questions? Contact Paige Blevins at kjlppsymposium@gmail.com.