(This op-ed was first published in The Recorder on May 12, 2020.)
This pandemic underscores the need to assist millions of individuals and small businesses through greater innovation in legal services.
Like any crisis, COVID-19 has both increased the pressure on our institutions and highlighted their existing cracks. Our public health system lacks the capacity to do large-scale tracing. Our schools struggle to bridge the digital divide. And our legal system cannot deliver justice to all our citizens.
In recent weeks, government officials have acted to address the hardships of COVID-19 in ways that require access to the legal system. Congress passed the CARES Act, guaranteeing loans and unemployment benefits. California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared an eviction moratorium, and many mayors followed suit. Such actions created new rights and responsibilities for individuals and businesses.
(Continue reading the op-ed on The Recorder’s page here.)
Deborah L. Rhode is the Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law and the director of the Center on the Legal Profession at Stanford Law School. Jason M. Solomon is the executive director of the center and a lecturer in law at Stanford Law School. He previously served as the chief legal officer for the education nonprofit Summit Learning.