Looking for Justice on a Two-Way Street


The unstated truth about lawyer-community “collaborations” is that lawyers, by and large, do not intend to bridge the gap between the powerful (themselves included) and poor communities by giving up their apparent privileges and taking advantage of what communities would have to offer if they did. Access is therefore generally presumed to go in one direction. Lawyers seek to give client populations access to the halls of political and economic power, but they do not think in terms of providing judges and the economically privileged access to financially under-supported communities. In these pages, I look at the contemporary notions of “access to justice,” particularly in relation to poverty lawyers’ goal of “bridge building” between economically distressed communities and institutions of political and legal power.


Access to justice, Collaborative lawyering, Legal assistance to the poor, Collaborative law, Social justice, United States



Nancy L. Cook (University of Minnesota School of Law)



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