Civil Gideon

Studies and Research

Local

  • The 2016 Justice Index, published by The National Center for Access to Justice (NCAJ) at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, measures the degree to which an array of selected best practices for ensuring equal access to the civil justice system are being performed throughout the country. Four legal subject indexes are ranked on a 1-100 scale to come up with a state's overall composition score. These subjects include: attorney access, self-represented, language access, and disability access. The 2016 Index ranks Pennsylvania 14th from the bottom with a composite score of 31 out of 100. The 2016 Justice Index: Selected Best Practices for Improving Access to Justice in the Courts for Self-Represented Litigants (Oct. 2017) provides a summary of Pennsylvania’s rankings in the category of self-represented litigants. More information about Pennsylvania's overall rankings is available here. The 2016 Justice Index is available at justiceindex.org.
  • A Report by the Center for American Progress, Forfeiting the American Dream: How Civil Asset Forfeiture Exacerbates Hardship for Low-Income Communities and Communities of Color, was released in April 2016 and is available here. The Report includes a case study of a client served by the University of Pennsylvania Civil Practice Clinic.
  • In November 2014, the Pennsylvania Elder Law Task Force released an extensive Report, containing 130 recommendations to improve the way Pennsylvania elders interact with the state court system and are protected in cases involving abuse, neglect, and guardianship among others. The Report is available here.
  • The Pennsylvania Civil Legal Justice Coalition Report to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Toward Equal Justice for All: Report of the Civil Legal Justice Coalition (May, 2014), contains findings and recommendations related to the civil legal justice gap crisis in Pennsylvania. The Report is based on the oral and written testimony presented at statewide hearings conducted by the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee in 2013. The Coalition's Report is available at here.
  • An independent study commissioned by the Pennsylvania IOLTA Board, entitled "The Economic Impact of Outcomes Obtained for Legal Aid Clients Benefits Everyone in Pennsylvania," found that the total economic impact of civil legal assistance in 2011 to Pennsylvania's low income individuals and families was $594 million, representing a greater than eleven-fold return on the investment of $53.6 million from all funding sources. The study is available at here.
  • A Report on Pennsylvania's Access to Justice Act, FY 2004-2011, prepared by The Resource for Great Programs, Inc., (May 2012), is available here.
  • The Pennsylvania IOLTA (Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts) Board report released in May 2012, entitled A Report on Pennsylvania's Access to Justice Act, FY 2004 - 2011, is available here. An accompanying Report on the Economic Impact of Legal Aid Provided by PLAN Organizations 2011, found that in 2011, $53.6 million invested in Pennsylvania legal services yielded $594 million in income and savings for residents and communities and supported 2,643 jobs. This report concluded that the total economic impact of civil legal assistance in 2011 to Pennsylvania's low- income individuals and families was $594 million, representing a greater than eleven-fold return on the investment of $53.6 million from all funding sources. Additional reports and studies are available here.

  • June, 2011, The Reinvestment Fund Releases Initial Report of Findings of a study of the Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program and Executive Summary. Click here to read the Inquirer Editorial, “Saving Homes,” published on June 22, 2011 and here for additional articles.

  • May, 2011, The Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee released a Performance Audit of Pennsylvania's Access to Justice Act. Click here for an executive summary of the Performance Audit and here for a copy of a press release from AOPC.

  • The Pennsylvania IOLTA (Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts) Board released a report in 2009, entitled Results of the Pennsylvania Access to Justice Act: A Report on the Filing-Fee Surcharge Law, FY 2004-2008 (February 2009), which demonstrates both the extensive need for legal representation among low income Pennsylvanians and the benefits of providing additional revenues to help fund legal services is available here.

National

  • December 2015, Public Justice Center report, Justice Diverted – How Renters are Processed in the Baltimore City Rent Court, revealed that Baltimore's "rent court" has heavily contributed to the city's rent eviction crisis, helping to place it second to Detroit in the percentage of renters experiencing the threat of rent eviction. The study revealed that 50 percent of those surveyed knew nothing about how to defend their cases. Available here.
  • Massachusetts's "2015 Economic Benefit Statement" highlights financial benefits legal aid programs, showing that legal aid programs funded by the MLAC boost Massachusetts's economy, generating an estimated $53,217,751 million in new revenue and cost savings. Available here.
  • The Boston Bar Association's Task Force on Civil Right to Counsel has released a report describing the two eviction pilots run by the Task Force over the past several years in Quincy District Court and Northeast Housing Court. The report is a follow up to the BBA Task Force's 2008 report called Gideon's New Trumpet.

  • The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation released the 2011 Economic Benefit Statement, which shows that legal aid programs funded by the MLAC boosts Massachusetts's economy, generating an estimated $53.2 million in new revenue and cost savings. This report is available here.

  • Legal Services Corporation, Documenting the Justice Gap In America: The Current Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans (September 2009), is available here.

  • A report written by Melanca Clark and Maggie Barron, entitled Foreclosures: A Crisis in Legal Representation, published by the Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law, on October 6, 2009, is available here. For more information about the study and the Brennan Center generally, click here.

  • A study by The Perryman Group, entitled The Impact of Legal Aid Services on Economic Activity in Texas: An Analysis of Current Efforts and Expansion Potential (February 2009), which found that for every direct dollar expended in the state for indigent civil legal services, the overall annual gains to the economy are $7.42 in total spending, $3.56 in gross output and $2.20 in personal income, is available here.