News Media

The Color of Debt: How Collection Suits Squeeze Black Neighborhoods

Two investigative journalists for ProPublica analyzed debt in collections by neighborhood tract. They find that debt is concentrated in neighborhoods that are majority black and that the average balance for which a balance was sued varies by race; white residents were sued for higher amounts, suggesting that they are better able to resolve smaller debts.

Disasters in Rural California: The Impact on Access to Justice

This report analyzes how disasters have disproportionately struck rural parts of California. These areas often have higher poverty rates than urban ones, and are typically the slowest to recover from disasters. During disaster and recovery, low-and modest-means communities often do not have access to legal remedies, meaning that recovery is often uneven. This report outlines how legal aid and pro bono assistance help residents in areas of housing, consumer issues, employment, insurance, public benefits, replacing vital records and documents, and accessing FEMA benefits.

California’s Attorney Deserts: Access to Justice Implications of the Rural Lawyer Shortage

In this study, the California Commission on Access to Justice reports on attorney deserts — places where there are too few attorneys and high numbers of unmet legal needs. They find that attorney deserts are an acute problem in rural areas. This is not a problem concentrated in California — in the US, approximately 2 percent of small law practices are in rural places, serving approximately 20 percent of the US population.

Nonlawyer Navigators in State Courts: An Emerging Consensus

Researchers at The Justice Lab at Georgetown Law Center surveyed the current national landscape of nonlawyer navigators. They identified and analyzed 23 programs in 15 states and the District of Columbia. The report is based on extensive outreach and interviews with more than 60 informants who created, oversee or manage nonlawyer navigator programs in court settings. The report describes program features and offers practical considerations for creating and implementing such programs.

Legal Problems and the Poor

The national survey found that there is a disproportionate percentage of individuals who experience legal problems — 10 percent of people who experienced at least one legal problem experienced one-third of all legal problems. They also find that low-income people were more likely to experience legal problems.