Posted by: Ray Brescia | January 27, 2018

Rural Access to Justice and Technology

I was honored to have the opportunity to contribute to the New York State Bar Association’s volume of its Government, Law and Policy Journal that addresses the pressing, multi-faceted issue of rural justice.

As Scott Fein, guest editor of this volume points out:

Rural New York makes up approximately
80 percent of the State’s landmass, yet is home to
only 8 percent of the State’s population. Personal income
is 60 percent below urban counterparts, one of 14 rural
households have no access to a vehicle, and public transportation
is available in only 27 percent of rural regions.

For those who find themselves in the criminal justice
system or seek civil justice, obstacles loom. There is one
lawyer for every 1,000 residents, a ratio less than one tenth
of the lawyer-to-resident ratio state-wide. Low income residents
in rural areas receive inadequate or no professional
legal assistance for an estimated 86 percent of their issues
with legal implications. More than 90 percent of those
rural residents who appeared in court for civil matters did
not have counsel. Courts in a significant number of rural
areas report that on the average at arraignment counsel
was “seldom or never present.”

My contribution addresses ways that the public interest community, together with the private bar, can harness technology to improve access to justice in rural communities. Download my article here.

You can also download the entire publication here.


  1. Helpful info!

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