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Georgetown Prof Explains The Rise Of Nonlawyer Navigators

Law360: “Each year, 30 million people lack legal representation in high-stakes civil court cases involving evictions, restraining orders, child custody and more. They do not have the statutory right to an attorney. If they cannot afford one, none is provided to them. Lawyers cannot close this so-called justice gap by themselves: Even if every licensed attorney in the country logged 180 pro bono hours, each household with a legal problem would receive just one hour of assistance, legal services experts estimate But lawyers don’t have to provide access to justice by themselves, according to research by Mary McClymont, a senior fellow at Georgetown University Law Center’s Justice Lab. In an increasing number of courts across the country, she found nonlawyer navigators — laypeople who provide legal information to unrepresented litigants — stepping in to fill the void. “Time after time, court staff would say, ‘You can’t believe how helpful these navigators are,’” she said. “They find them absolutely essential in delivering services.” Her recent report, “Nonlawyer Navigators in State Courts: An Emerging Consensus,” surveys the national landscape of nonlawyer navigator programs and provides an in-depth look at how they fit into the day-to-day routines of courthouses from California to New York… [[h/t Mary Whisner]

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