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Access to Justice Committee helps Missouri citizens have their voices heard in court

Join one of The Missouri Bar’s nearly 40 committees that focus on various practices of law

Did you know some fonts are more accessible than others and a simple adjustment can help you even better serve your clients and communities? This is just one example of how the Access to Justice Committee is educating the profession and helping ensure everyone has the chance to be heard in court.

The Access to Justice committee covers topics like availability of accommodations, free or low-cost legal services, and guaranteeing fair treatment of litigants regardless of gender, race, disability, income, or other factors.

“Without an attorney, many of my clients would never have the opportunity to have their concerns addressed, or even be heard to begin with,” said committee chair Will Hack, a disability rights lawyer. “My family is impacted by this access difficulty as well. I want to do all that I can to ensure everyone gets their day in court, and they aren’t held back by disability or any other type of discrimination.”

The committee is currently working on creating sample forms and documents to help lawyers who are interested in relevant issues get started, including forms to request to proceed in forma pauperis, to request a change of judge, to request accommodations for disability, and more.

The committee is also always spreading the word about pro bono legal services, firms that specialize in representing underrepresented litigants, and other organizations and opportunities to help promote access to justice. Hack encouraged lawyers to share information with the committee about their organizations’ access to justice resources.

During Spring Committee Meetings April 29-May 3, the Access to Justice Committee will hold a meeting that features a no-cost CLE – that any lawyer can register for and attend – on how to achieve legal name changes. Hack said the committee is currently looking for presenters for its meeting at Fall Committee Meetings Nov. 18-22 and anyone who is interested can email him at willhacklaw@gmail.com.

Committees and sections represent the driving forces behind the work and activities of The Missouri Bar, and with nearly 40 to choose from, all Missouri lawyers can find one that fits their professional interests. Committee members are lawyers who practice in or are passionate about a particular area of law, from animal law and estate planning to labor and employment law. Hack encouraged lawyers who want to “promote positive change and awareness” to join committees.

“Committees focus on education, legislation, expertise, public outreach, and building relationships within the context of the mission, vision, and goals of The Missouri Bar,” he added. “If you are interested in any of those things – educating others through CLEs or materials, making connections in the industry, and more – committees can be incredible resources.”

Join the Access to Justice Committee and explore other committees here. Register for the upcoming Spring Committee Meetings here.