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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, State Supreme Court Justices, and Leading Business Executives Gather for Access to Justice Forum

Leaders from law and business will gather for the Legal Services Corporation’s (LSC) Forum on Access to Justice on Monday, November 12, in Chicago. The forum will focus on ways of addressing the most critical civil legal aid issues faced by seven in 10 low-income American households each year.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, University of Chicago Law School Dean Thomas Miles, and LSC Board Chair John G. Levi will offer opening remarks on the importance of increasing access to justice for low-income families and individuals. American Bar Association (ABA) President Bob Carlson, ABA President-Elect Judy Perry Martinez, and Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Dean Kimberly Yuracko will also deliver remarks at the forum.

The forum will feature three panels. The first, “The Importance of Access to Justice to the Judiciary,” will emphasize the importance of addressing the civil legal needs of struggling Americans and the toll self-represented litigants take on the justice system. The panelists will include four state supreme court justices: Nebraska Chief Justice Michael Heavican, Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Hawaii Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, and Vermont Chief Justice Paul Reiber.

The second panel, “Meeting the Civil Legal Needs of Low-income Veterans,” will focus on the need to support individuals who have served our country by helping them overcome the legal barriers that strain their financial health and personal welfare. Panelists will include legal aid providers and military and veterans’ affairs representatives.

Following the second panel, a technology presentation, “Using Text Messaging to Improve the Delivery of Legal Services,” will examine the benefits of using mobile phone services to expand support for low-income Americans in need of legal assistance.

Executives from leading businesses across the country, including United Airlines and Ventas, will speak at the final panel, “Perspectives on Access to Justice from the Business Community.” This panel will highlight why civil legal aid matters to businesses and the role business leaders can play in helping spread the message about the crisis in civil legal aid.

Harriet Miers, former White House Counsel and Locke Lorde partner, and University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer will deliver closing remarks.

The Forum on Access to Justice will take place at the University of Chicago Law School, 1111 E. 60th Street, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. CST. Members of the press are invited to attend.

The forum will also be livestreamed via Facebook Live. To view the briefing, visit LSC’s Facebook page during the event.

See below for a complete list of speakers.



John G. Levi, Board Chairman, Legal Services Corporation & Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
Dean Thomas J. Miles, University of Chicago Law School
The Honorable Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, State of Illinois

Panel: The Importance of Access to Justice to the Judiciary 
Chief Justice Michael G. Heavican, Nebraska Supreme Court 
Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, Supreme Court of Texas
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Supreme Court of Ohio
Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, Hawaii Supreme Court 
Chief Justice Paul L. Reiber, Vermont Supreme Court
Moderator: Judge Jonathan J. Lippman, Of Counsel, Latham & Watkins LP & Former Chief Judge of New York

Robert Carlson, President, American Bar Association & Shareholder, Corette Black Carlson & Mickelson, P.C.

Presentation: Using Text Messaging to Improve the Delivery of Legal Services

Judy Perry Martinez, President-Elect, American Bar Association & Of Counsel, Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfearn LLP
Vivian Hessel, Chief Information Officer, Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago
Teri Ross, Interim Executive Director, Illinois Legal Aid Online

Panel: Meeting the Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Veterans

Jim Cook, Executive Director, Idaho Legal Aid Services
Nan Heald, Executive Director, Pine Tree Legal Assistance
Trish McGill, Chair, Illinois Access to Civil Justice Council & Former General Counsel, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs 
The Honorable Patrick J. Murphy, Former Undersecretary of the United States Army
Polli Pollem, Military Assistance Project Director, Indiana Legal Services
Moderator: Ronald S. Flagg, Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel, Legal Services Corporation 


Dean Kimberly A. Yuracko, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Panel: Perspectives on Access to Justice from the Business Community

Debra A. Cafaro, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ventas, Inc.
James S. Crown, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Henry Crown & Company
Brett J. Hart, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, and General Counsel, United Airlines, Inc.
John W. Rogers Jr., Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Investment Officer, Ariel Investments, LLC
William Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz, Principal Owner and Chairman, Chicago Blackhawks & President, Wirtz Corporation
Moderator: Martha L. Minow, Board Vice Chair, Legal Services Corporation & 300th Anniversary University Professor, Harvard University

Closing Remarks
Harriet Miers, Co-Chair, LSC Leaders Council & Partner, Locke Lord LLP
Robert J. Zimmer, President, University of Chicago 

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation provides funding to 132 independent non-profit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.



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