Service Delivery, Resource Allocation, and Access to Justice: Greiner and Pattanayak and the Research Imperative

By: Jeffrey Selbin, Jeanne Charn, Anthony Alfieri, and Stephen Wizner. Published by: Yale Law Journal. Published in July 2012.

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The abstract for the article reads:

“Studying the outcomes of appeals from initial denials of unemployment insurance (UI) benefit claims, they asked: what difference does legal representation make?4 They find that “an offer of HLAB representation had no statistically significant effect on the probability that a claimant would prevail, but that the offer did delay the adjudicatory process.”5 That is, not only was an offer of legal assistance immaterial to the case outcome, but it may have harmed clients’ interests.

In Part I of this Essay, we describe the Greiner and Pattanayak study and the skeptical reaction it initially received from many of our colleagues. We then offer a more optimistic reading. Building on this alternative reading, we argue in Part II that empirical research can inform service delivery, resource allocation, and access-to-justice questions. In fact, in light of the growing demand for legal services and shrinking supply, we contend that such research has become imperative. In Part III, we discuss recent developments in law schools, the professions, and policymaking that provide support, infrastructure, and incentives for such research. We conclude with a call for legal services lawyers and clinical law professors to embrace an expansive, empirical research agenda.”

Categories: General/Unspecified Clients, Legal Aid Practitioners, Researchers and Academics, State-Specific, Unbundling

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