(Originally published by the Santa Cruz Sentinel on July 21, 2022)
Most Americans don’t realize that you have no constitutional right to a lawyer in a civil case if you can’t afford one. You can lose your home, have your children taken away from you, or need a protection order against an abuser – and you have no right to a lawyer if you can’t afford one.
Our current civil legal system was designed for a world that no longer exists – a world in which the vast majority of civil litigants have lawyers. Today, both parties have lawyers in civil cases in state courts in only one out of four cases. Eighty-five percent of Californians — including millions of middle-income people — get no or inadequate help with their civil legal problems.
(Continue reading the opinion essay on the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s page here.)