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Sidestepping Lassiter on the Path to Civil Gideon

Civil Douglas

By Steven D. Schwinn

One of the challenges facing the movement to establish a right to counsel in civil cases is the presumption against such a right in Lassiter v. Department of Social Services. However, by following the doctrinal path set forth in Douglas v. California and its procedurally based right to counsel on appeal, advocates may overcome the Lassiter presumption and clear the way to a civil right to counsel.

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