Spring 2021 • Reading Group
Access to Justice in the Digital World
Exam Type: No Exam
This reading group explores the impact of new and emerging digital technologies on the longstanding barriers that low-income and vulnerable individuals often face when interacting with the civil justice system, as well as the role that creative, zealous legal advocacy can play in surmounting these obstacles. From family relationships to housing security to consumer transactions, the civil justice system orders (or fails to order) our quotidian affairs. The disputes in family courts, housing courts, small claims courts, and other judicial settings that are high stakes for individuals but low dollar value for attorneys typically put pro se litigants on the front lines of the courtroom—if they even make it into court at all. Digital tech—especially during the judicial system’s current pandemic operation mode—is sparking a new solution space for litigants, attorneys, and other stakeholders to resolve civil disputes; however, it is also creating new challenges in areas such as digital privacy. This reading group will unpack all dimensions of the impact of and potential for new digital technologies to change the contours of civil case-handling for low-income and vulnerable people, with an eye toward generating normative, values-based reflections on how to maximize the positive aspects of this change.
Note: This reading group will meet for six sessions, beginning on Thursday, January 28 and meeting every other week throughout the spring term.