Oklahoma Summit on Access to Justice

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Legal Talk Network was on-hand during the summit to record interviews with attorneys working and donating their time in this space and to learn more about the efforts to help Americans of low economic means with legal problems.

Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City

Ensuring that every citizen should have equal access to justice should be a core American value. But the results of studies question the reality of that promise, with some suggesting that up to 80 percent of people don’t have access to assistance for their legal problems. About one in five Oklahomans qualify for free civil legal assistance. Unfortunately, more than half of those seeking help must be turned away due to a lack of funding. Many are suggesting significant changes to our legal system to address this problem. Oklahoma lawyers will want to be involved with reform efforts.

On October 11th, 2018 the Oklahoma Access to Justice Summit welcomed an extraordinary lineup of leaders, including James J. Sandman, president of the Legal Services Corporation; Katherine Alteneder, executive director of the Self-Represented Litigation Network; Ryan Gentzler, Director, Open Justice Oklahoma; Jonathan Lippman, Latham & Watkins LLP and former chief judge of New York and chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals and Douglas Combs, chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

The Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission was established in 2014 by order of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and charged with developing and implementing policies that expand access to and enhance the quality of justice in civil legal matters for low-income Oklahomans.

Intriguing information based on data from Oklahoma courts was provided by Open Justice Oklahoma. The summit had training on Oklahoma District Court Rule 33, which clarifies how lawyers can provide limited legal services to those who cannot afford full services. There was also a panel session on the new realities of eviction and how a single eviction can impact families for many years into the future.

This free program provided 6 hours of MCLE credit and attracted over 150 attorneys to the event.

The Access to Justice Summit was made possible through financial support from LegalShield, Tricia Everest, Crowe & Dunlevy, Walmart and the Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation.


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Tricia Everest

Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation


"Moving Mountains on Access to Justice" - Hon. Jonathan Lippman, former Chief Judge of New York and Chief Judge of New York Court of Appeals


"What the Data Tells us About Civil Access to Justice"

-Anna Carpenter, Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Lobeck Taylor Community Advocacy Clinic


-Ryan Gentzler, Open Justice Oklahoma Director

"The Justice Gap" - James J. Sandman, President of Legal Services Corporation


Panel: "The New Reality of Eviction and Homelessness"

-Michael Figgins, Chair of Access to Justice Commission Execuitve Director and Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.

-William Hoch, Crowe & Dunlevy

-Richard M. Klinge, Oklahoma City University School of Law

-Eric Hallett, LASO

"Why Civil Justice Reform Matters for Oklahoma" - Katerine Alteneder, Executive Director of the Self-Represented Litigation Network


"There is Far Too Much law for Those Who Can Afford It, And Far Too Little For Those Who Can't" - Michael C. Turpen; Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison & Lewis


"Delivering Limited Scope Services Safely and Effectively" - Jim Calloway, OBA Management Assistance Program


"Oklahoma Free Legal Answers and the Work of the OBA Access to Justice Committee" - Rodney Ring, OBA Acces to Justice Committee Chair

"Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission - A Report Card"

-Hon. Douglas Combs, Chief Justice, Oklahoma Supreme Court

-Hom. Rick Bozarth, Associate District Judge, Dewey County

-Michael Figgins, Chair of Access to Justice Commission Execuitve Director and Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.

-Anna Carpenter, Commission Vice Chair, Associate Clinical Professor of Law

-M. David Riggs, Commission Past Chair, Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison & Lewis