Toward Justice and Reform
This chapter suggests that the Federal legal assistance program should broaden its coverage to embrace the nonpoor. As Reginald Heber Smith documented in 1919, equal justice entails more than availability of government-subsidized lawyers for those unable to afford private counsel. Powerful constituencies are beginning to recognize they have a stake in improving the quality of justice in America. Setting aside any of the social-economic consequences of legislative advocacy, the elemental goal of achieving equal justice appears to demand that Legal Services lawyers undertake this form of representation. The chapter examines how the various inducements and decision making bodies interrelate in the context of social reform for the poor. Staff counsel then could concentrate on law reform, group representation, and most cases involving welfare, consumer, landlord-tenant or other problems where the dispute is between a poor person and some part of the affluent society. An interest group desiring reform can seek to persuade existing congressmen or legislators to enact those changes.