June 12, 2014
The Foundation board declined to take a position on the petition because the consensus was that, while the need for expanding access to justice has never been greater, it is an obligation not just of lawyers but of society as a whole.
We feel that more will be gained by working cooperatively with all public and private stakeholders, including The Florida Bar, the Courts, government officials, the business community, and providers of legal services for the poor.
Therefore, we support The Florida Bar in its convening of a Summit on Access to Justice that will be led by incoming Chief Justice Jorge Labarga.
Nationally, access to justice initiatives have made substantial progress not only in terms of legal services funding, but also pro bono participation, the availability of self-help resources, the streamlining of the judicial process and the enhancement of legal aid delivery systems. We see great promise in this approach. If done well, it will result in greater access to justice not only for the poor but also for the many other Floridians who cannot afford our present justice system.
John Patterson, President, 2013-14
The Florida Bar Foundation