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Civil Right to Counsel's Relationship to Antipoverty Advocacy--Further Reflections

By Debra Gardner & John Pollock

Gary F. Smith suggests in the May-June issue of Clearinghouse Review that, inspired by the life of Sargent Shriver, the legal aid community should reclaim the original mission of legal services to challenge the conditions that cause poverty rather than promoting “equal access” to justice and the legal system. But these goals are not contradictory. To the contrary, adopting a civil right to counsel in cases affecting basic human needs, with the nature of the right shaped by local communities and advocates, would help achieve Shriver’s vision for legal services.

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