This may be a straw in the wind.
But money alone will not solve the problem, according to testimony submitted by Gillian Hadfield, a professor of law and economics at the University of Southern California. [link added]
With approximately one million low-income households facing legal problems, according to a court system survey, it’s simply impossible for the state’s 150,000 licensed attorneys to provide enough pro bono hours to help all of those people, the testimony said.
Hadfield suggested the state “allow people and organizations other than lawyers and law firms to provide some forms of legal assistance,” much like the medical profession, where a host of non-doctor personnel handle many healthcare problems.
In the past the content of these hearings has been somewhat predictive of future directions in New York state, so perhaps this means that we should all be thinking about creative ways to move forward to lower barriers to access inherent in the legal monopoly, such as the UK example blogged about here.
As soon as the transcript of the hearing is available, I will post it, and make more comments on the specifics of this approach, which I personally believe is a critical part of the overall solution. All kudos to New York and CJ Lippman for putting the issue generally on the agenda, and helping make sure that the conversation begins.