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Oklahoma Access to Justice Summit

Oklahoma Bar AssociationOn October 11th 2018, the Oklahoma Access to Justice Summit was held at the Oklahoma Bar Association in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Supported and hosted by civic-minded attorneys across the country, this event was designed to raise awareness and address for the “justice gap” defined by the Legal Services Corporation as the difference between the civil legal needs of low-income Americans and the resources available to meet those needs.

We spent a day recording interviews with attorneys working and donating their time in this space to learn more about the efforts to help Americans of low economic means with legal problems. Among the many issues presented were the results of a study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago for the Legal Services Corporation. From that study the following information was gathered from surveyees and other materials:

• 60 million Americans live below 125% under the Federal Poverty Level (defined as $30,750 per year or less for a family of 4)

• 71% of low-income households experienced one civil legal problem

• 1/4 of low-income households has experienced 6+ civil legal problems in the past year

• 86% of the civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans in the past year received inadequate or no legal help

• 7 out of 10 low-income Americans with a civil legal problem said it had a significant impact on their lives

With that study as the centerpiece of conversation, attendees participated in several sessions with presentations and follow up Q&A. We caught up with most of those presenting to cover their topics for discussion. Below is a summary of our audio coverage and list of interviewees from the summit:


Oklahoma Summit on A2J: Getting Legal Help for Families

Oklahoma Bar Association’s executive director John Williams and president Kimberly Hays sit down to talk about pro se litigants, the Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission, Free Legal Answers, and their bar association’s involvement with the American Bar Association. Tune in to hear how pro se litigants are at a disadvantage in family law when it comes to “one bite at the apple” issues.   


Oklahoma Summit on A2J: Access to Justice Commission Goals

Host John Williams is joined by Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Douglas Combs and Associate District Judge of Dewey County Rick Bozarth to discuss the Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission, its history, and how it’s making justice more efficient. Tune in to hear about the number of pro se litigants increasing and recent efforts to bring language interpreters to those not represented by council.


Oklahoma Summit on A2J: Is it Time for Civil Gideon?

Retired Oklahoma Attorney General and former Governor candidate Michael Turpen stops by to sound off about “civil Gideon” with host John Williams. Together they discuss the pros for re-allocating the costs of civil legal representation, Oklahoma’s high eviction rate, and the application of “civil Gideon” in family law matters.


Oklahoma Summit on A2J: The Justice Gap

Legal Services Corporation President Jim Sandman joins host John Williams for a discussion about the “justice gap” and the results from their recent study done in conjunction with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.


Oklahoma Summit on A2J: Changing the Dialogue on Equal Justice

Judge Jonathan Lippman sits down with host John Williams to talk about the importance of equal justice and how ensuring that for the poorest of us is pivotal to protecting our justice system.


Oklahoma Summit on A2J: How Data Deepens Our Understanding of Access to Justice

University of Tulsa College of Law Professor Anna Carpenter and Open Justice Oklahoma Director Ryan Gentzler join host John Williams for a conversation about court data and what can be discerned from it including Oklahoma’s high rates of evictions and pro se litigants. They also discuss work being done by Open Justice Oklahoma and the Clinical Education Program at the University of Tulsa College of Law.


Oklahoma Summit on A2J: The New Reality of Eviction and Homelessness

Joined by Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma’s Eric Hallett, Dillon Tarmin, and Michael Figgins as well as Oklahoma City University School of Law’s Richard Klinge, host John Williams leads a detailed discussion about Oklahoma’s evictions and homelessness. Together they delve into the prominence of Oklahoma’s foreclosures and the value of settling cases.


Oklahoma Summit on A2J: Free Legal Answers

Hon. Rodney Ring joins host John Williams to talk about the Oklahoma Free Legal Answers program, why attorneys should get involved, and how participants can obtain pro bono credits without officially taking on new clients.


Oklahoma Summit on A2J: Why Civil Justice Reform Matters

Hosted by Oklahoma Bar Association Management Assistance Program Director Jim Calloway, this interview features Self-Represented Litigation Network Executive Director Katherine Alteneder sharing why she believes civil justice reform matters for Oklahoma. Together they discuss Legal Navigator, limited scope representation, and how only 20% of the population has the requisite literacy to utilize court forms.


List of Interview Participants (in alphabetical order):

  1. Katherine Alteneder
  2. Judge Rick Bozarth
  3. Jim Calloway (host)
  4. Professor Anna Carpenter
  5. Chief Justice Douglas Combs
  6. Michael Figgins
  7. Ryan Gentzler
  8. Eric Hallett
  9. Kimberly Hays
  10. Richard Klinge
  11. Judge Jonathan Lippman
  12. Rod Ring
  13. Jim Sandman
  14. Dillon Turman
  15. Attorney General (Ret.) Michael Turpen
  16. John Williams (host)

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After receiving his J.D. and MBA, Laurence Colletti went into solo practice with emphasis in general business and commercial real estate. He has always carried a strong passion for web-based media with a particular interest in podcasting and video. Laurence leverages his legal background against that passion to help bring sophisticated, relevant content to Legal Talk Network podcasts. You can follow Laurence on Twitter at @LaurenceEsq.