The Committee on Access to Justice and Civic Engagement seeks to broaden access to the courts and justice system and help provide civic programs to educate the legal community about how to get involved. For example, the Committee teamed up with CLA’s Civic Engagement and Outreach Committee and the Power of Democracy to put on a civics program for two fifth grade classes from Los Padres Elementary School in Salinas at the last in-person CLA annual meeting (2019). The Chair of the Power of Democracy, Court of Appeal Justice Judith McConnell, spoke to the students about civics and then small groups of students discussed with a judge and attorney a mock law that prohibited animals in school.
During the pandemic, the Committee’s programs have included: (1) a program for Earth Day 2021 about environmental justice; (2) a February 2021 program with Loyola Law School Professors Laurie Levenson and Jessica Levinson on impeachment, the 25th Amendment, and the 14th Amendment; and (3) a program in the fall of 2020 with Georgetown Law School professor Shon Hopwood on his path from inmate (for armed bank robbery) to law professor. The Committee is also co-sponsoring a Dialogues on Freedom program in Los Angeles in the fall of 2021 (organized by the Los Angeles County Bar Association and Constitutional Rights Foundation), and committee members helped with the Just the Beginning Summer Legal Institute in Los Angeles in June 2021.
If you’re interested in turning ideas into action for civic engagement or improving access to justice, the Committee presents an exciting opportunity. To learn more about the Committee or to get involved, please contact Committee Co-Chair, Erik M. Silber, at Erik.Silber@usdoj.gov, Co-Chair Amanda M. Bettinelli, at Amanda.Bettinelli@usdoj.gov, or Vice Chair Chad Stegeman at Chad.Stegeman@doj.ca.gov.