The White House Forum on Increasing Access to Justice

The White House Forum on Increasing Access to Justice


Martha Minow:
I’m Martha Minow, and I’m vice chair of the
Legal Services Corporation, and I have the unlucky
task of following some tremendously great speakers. One of the words that I
heard Paulette Brown use is “we.” It’s also a word that
we heard from the secretary of the Army. The recognition that the
issues that bring us here today are issues that
bring us together, that don’t divide us, is
going to be the theme of my one minute opening remarks,
which is that it’s — originally, the
we was bipartisan. The creation of the Legal
Services Corporation was bipartisan. Today, it’s not just that. It’s the we of all the
sectors of society, and that includes
business, as well as law. That includes the wealthy,
as well as the poor. That includes
people in south, as well as people in the
north, et cetera, et cetera. So, here at Myers, White
House Council to President George W. Bush, recently recognized
by the Dallas Bar, is an exemplar for
the profession. She said this: “Lawyers
especially have an obligation to give
back to society, to defend the rule of law,
to work to improve our legal system, and to take steps
to ensure that all of our citizens, including the
most vulnerable among us, have access to the
justice system. A year ago, Chief Judge
Merrick Garland said at our meeting, right here
in the White House, “The legitimacy of the rule
of law depends on equal justice. Equal justice depends
on equal access and so, in the end, the rule of law
depends on the thousands of men and women who do the
extraordinarily difficult work of provision of legal
services to those in need.” I invite everyone here to
recognize everyone here who does anything for
legal services. (laughter) (applause) And specifically here, I am
so honored to be with people who have, I think, the
busiest lives on the planet, and they have made
the time to be here. That speaks volumes
about who’s the we. And we really have
no time together, but I’m going to actually
ask everyone two questions, and I’m going to
give a warm call, not a cold call to my
friend, Ken Frazier. You’re going to be
the first one up. And I will introduce each
person as I move up and down the line. They’re really
two questions, and you can answer either
of them or neither of them. And the questions are: why
does this matter to you, personally, to
business, to America? Why does legal
services matter? And the second, is what
lessons can business offer legal services? How can we do
what we do better? Ken Frazier, just so —
you know who you are, but I get to
say who you are. So, Ken Frazier is the
remarkable chair and CEO of Merck. He is, himself, one of the
most outstanding public servants serving right now
in the president’s export council involved in
the ABA, the ALI, the Cornerstone Christian
Academy, NLADA, where he was chair and
exemplar, pro bono. And let me just say, your
willingness to be the new co-chair of the council that
John Levi described just speaks, again, volumes about
you and your outstanding words at the Legal
Services’ 40th. So, now, I hope that’s
enough of a — time for you to figure out what
you’re going to say. (laughter) Kenneth Frazier:
Thank you, Dean Minow. It’s great to be here, and I
want to thank the President for making this forum
available to us. So, I’ll start by saying why
access to legal services is important. Our business, of course, is
the healthcare business. And like healthcare, law is
an issue that doesn’t matter unless people
have access to it. It’s critical for
people to have access. It’s the central issue,
as far as I’m concerned. In fact, I would go so far
as to say that it’s the threshold issue that allows
people to have access to healthcare and other
public benefits. So, it’s critical for us to
recognize that access is important. As a business, I think we
have a huge stake in social cohesion. And if people begin to feel
that they don’t have a stake in our society — if they
believe that the rules that the engagement and
the American society, the things that we were
taught in grammar school about America
no longer apply, then you worry about
the center not holding. We see extremes of income
inequality in our country nowadays. And it’s critical. It’s growing worse, and
I think that we have to recognize that of
all the institutions, it is the lawyers who
actually are best positioned to address some
of those issues. We can’t ask Congress to
enact legislation to do anything about it. Our Supreme Court, I
think, it’s sad to say, has not really been
particularly responsive to the issues that people deal
with in their day to day lives — how they work, how
they interact with each other, the services
that they need. So, it’s critical for those
of us who are involved with legal services to make sure
that we provide the kind of access to justice that
will be important. Without it, I think there
will be a lack of trust, and those of us who run
business know that the most precious asset that we have
on our balance sheet is the public trust. Martha Minow: Wow. Excellent. Amy Schulman will be next. And Amy is CEO of Arsia
Therapeutics and Lyndra, she’s a partner in Polaris,
which is a healthcare venture investment. She was the path breaking
vice president and general counsel of Pfizer, where she
actually transformed how companies relate
to outside counsel, and head of the consumer
health business there. She teaches at Harvard
Business School. She teaches at
Harvard Law School. She’s a vibrant leader. She’s passionate
about service, and she’s my friend. Amy Schulman: Thank you. So — and I love the way
you do the cold calls. It’s like being
back in school, and I think we should
all say, Martha, that many of us are here
today because of you. And your commitment to this (inaudible) through both your leadership
at Harvard Law School and elsewhere is profound. And I think our entire
profession owes a huge debt of gratitude for your
leadership on this, so — (applause) — so, you think, I think
Ken said it exactly right. Corporations tend to believe
that the rule of law is what anchors the public trust in
us, and that without trust, we have no real ability to
get done as corporate actors and citizens what we want. And so, this morning, when
I was kind of having an argument, as I do — that’s
what passes for conversation in a household of mine, with
one lawyer husband and three sons, about kind of why
do corporations care? The question of if
corporations ultimately care because it’s in
our self-interest. Is that actually good
enough for caring, right? And does that really evince
a deep commitment to the rights of poor people,
and to serving justice? And of course, I went from
Pfizer to a company that has all of, you know,
seven employees now, where I’m a CEO of a tiny
startup in Cambridge. And I think, at Pfizer, we
had a deep commitment for many of the reasons
that Ken said, and I had a personal
commitment as the general counsel, not just —
I’m looking at David, where we always supported
Equal Justice Works, and Fellows, and
through our law firms. But the number of people who
would come up to me and say, “Look, you know,
I’m really busy. Can you just tell me how I
can get out of jury duty?” And I would say, “As the
general counsel, actually, not. Because one of the most
important things that any of us can do as citizens
is to serve on juries. And when we’re trying cases,
we want people just like you sitting on our juries. And access is — (applause) — and so, I’m not often
very sanctimonious, as a lawyer, but I got on
my soap box about that, and I started to think
about that today. Because I do
think, ultimately, it isn’t just about
corporations getting a level playing field because
people trust the system, and if people have access,
then they trust the system. I mean, I think that’s
true, but somehow, that doesn’t feel completely
satisfying enough for me. And ultimately, I think we
should all care about this because it’s
the right thing. Because as our APA
president said, it’s kind of the daily
grind in the indignities. Right? And everybody deserves
access to a life that isn’t made harder because we’re
depriving people of access to justice and basic
necessities — the kind of crime of not only can you
not get to work to pay the things that are due, but now
you actually are getting more funds because you’re
driving without a license that’s been suspended. And I think, as human
beings, and ultimately, corporations are just
aggregations of human beings, we should care
because we belong to the same world, and I’m really
pleased to have been here today, and thank you for — Martha Minow: Thank you. Thank you. David Rubenstein is next. And one of the world’s most
outstanding civic leaders, philanthropist, founder
of the Carlyle Group, leader of the World
Economic Forum, Library Congress Kennedy
Center of the Arts, Harvard University
Outstanding Speaker at our 40th anniversary for the
Legal Services Corporation. David, I so admire your
deep knowledge about — and reverence for American
history and its values. And I thank you for being in
correspondence with my 90 year old dad, who
really enjoys it. David Rubenstein: He
writes the best emails. He sends me emails — he
reads the papers all the time, and sends me things
he’s very impressed. So, I imagine what he
was like when was 45. I mean, 90! Thank you for being here,
inviting me to be here. Some of you may be wondering
why it takes seven business people to convince you
that we care about — (laughter) — this topic. It’s not that they rounded
up all seven business people who care about this subject
in the United States — (laughter) — but the Da Vinci code for
why we’re here is really this. John Levi’s father was the
president of the University of Chicago, and also the
former dean of the law school. John was raised at the —
and went to lab school, and we have — see,
sprinkled in here are three University of
Chicago trustees. So, John and Debbie
and myself, and also, you were raised in
Chicago, as well. We’ve had diversity for
— a few others here, for diversity for us. But really, it’s — hidden
at the University of Chicago is the leading place that
cares about this issue — (laughter) — so everybody should know. Recently, I had the good
fortune to go to the Supreme Court, and all of you have
probably been to the United States Supreme Court. And John Roberts was —
Justice Roberts was giving me a little tour
of the place, and explaining some things. And I — he asked me, “Do
you know where equal justice under the law?” Which is — on the
Supreme Court comes from. I figured, uh oh. I thought I knew a lot
about legal documents. I’d say, did it come
from the Declaration of Independence? The Constitution? The Bill of Rights? He said, “No, it actually
came from the architect of the building. The architect was looking
for something to put up there, and he kind of said,
‘How about Equal Justice Under Law?’ And then he asked some of
the justices, and they said, ‘That sounds okay.'” (laughter) So, the truth is, equal just
under law is what we haven’t had, and for most of our
history, we haven’t had it, and we still don’t have it. The truth is, the
Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the Declaration
of Independence were written by people who really didn’t
care about people who didn’t have wealth. And now, we have migrated
our society a bit to care more about people who
don’t have wealth, but we still are a long
way away from that. The business community in
the United States, I think, has more sensitivity to this
issue than the business community in
other countries, but we still are a long way
away from what the legal profession has tried to do. The business community —
and I think business leaders haven’t gotten a
good reputation, our most recent presidential
campaign — and I suspect we will — those of us in the
business community will have to atone for many of the
sins that our — others in the business community have
committed in this campaign, in terms of our image. But I do think that the
business community cares about this issue, for
a couple of reasons. One, we — business people
are humans as well. We’re not just ogres
who care about profit. And we care about living in
a society where people have equal justice under the
law, and where everybody is treated fairly. And just because you have a
band in the practice of law, as I did, because I
wasn’t good at it, and you go into the business
world doesn’t mean you don’t care about the same values
you had when you were a lawyer, or when you
were in law school, or when you’re a student. So, the business
community, I think, can do a better job
in the United States, and it’s done. But I think people
in this audience, other people who might
be listening to us, should recognize that
business people don’t abandon their concerns about
social justice and equal justice and the law because
they do worry about profits and losses, and so forth. And we also worry in the
business community that you cannot have a stable
business community, and you cannot have a good
economic environment if you have — you don’t
have the rule of law, you have a social unrest. And to the extent that the
people have a concern about income inequality and
lack of justice, too, for people who are lower
means — economic means or they’re veterans
and so forth, you’re not going to
have a stable society. You’re not going to have a
good economic community, and you’re not going to
be the envy of the world. Today, the United
States, in many areas, is the — is the
envy of the world, particularly in many areas
of our justice system, but not in all areas. And one of the ones that we
trail behind other countries that we should emulate is
equal justice under law. And so, to the extent that
the business community can be motivated to recognize
that we have a long way to go, and that all of us
have to do more to get our society to care about the
people who don’t have access to justice will be
a better society. And that’s why
I care about it, and that’s why I think the
others here care about it. Thank you. Martha Minow: Thank you. Thank you. Wonderful. (applause) Well, John Rogers. We are going to have another
Chicago connection here. Thank you for being here. One of the most
outstanding investors, you’re — you are profiled
in a book called The 99 Greatest Investors. You are a trustee at the
University of Chicago, and also, honored by your
alma mater, Princeton, with its highest
award for an alum, founder of Ariel Investment,
civic leader in Chicago, and nationally. John Rogers is also an
advocate for financial literacy, which frankly, if
you can get that spread more through the country, it
would actually prevent some of the consumer disasters
and other problems that some of the clients that
we have really face. So, why do you care
about legal services, access to justice, and if
you are able to sneak in something about
financial literacy, we would be delighted. John Rogers:
Well, thank you. I’ll try to do both. And I really appreciate the
opportunity to be here. You know, it starts with how
I got started with this, and John knows this — my
mom graduated from the University of Chicago
Law School in 1946. And her first job was with
the Legal Aid Bureau of Chicago. And she would often,
as I was growing up, talk about the
importance of legal aid, and how important
it was to give back. At the same time, my
grandfather, my mom’s dad, was a lawyer. And my mom had also told
the story about how her grandfather, C.F. Stratford, owned a hotel
in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that was burned down during
the famous riots in the ’20s. And my great grandfather
escaped from Tulsa, and they were trying
to extradite him back. And there was a real risk if
he came back to Tulsa that he’d be lynched,
in that time. And my grandfather,
being a lawyer, was able to
protect his father, and actually save his life. And so, my mom would always
talk about the reason she became a lawyer was because
she was able to see her dad save her grandfather’s life. So, that’s kind
of — you know, why I think John thought
about me for this. And his father was at the
UFC at the same time that my parents were there. The second thing — you
asked about financial literacy. My father was the class of
’48 at the UFC Law School, and was a Tuskegee airman
and a fighter pilot in World War II. And he started buying stocks
for me as a young person — age 12, instead of birthday
presents and Christmas presents. He thought it was important
for me to learn about the markets. So, what we’ve tried to do
at Ariel is we’ve done a couple things. We started a small public
school 20 years ago with Arne Duncan, when
he worked at Ariel, to give kids real
investments — the 600 kids there get, you know, a
great financial literacy curriculum, but they also
have a chance to invest in real stocks,
with real money. And we do things like take
them to the McDonald’s annual meeting every year,
where I’m a board member. You know, bring them down
and have a chance to talk to our analysts about careers
and financial services. And we also have another
program that’s affiliated with the Big Shoulders
Fund in Chicago, where we have now 50
different Catholic and public schools have a
financial literacy program, where they partner
with various financial institutions around Chicago. So, the reason
I bring that up, I think that one of the
great things about that is that the kids learn about
having trust in our financial systems. They learn about our
capitalist democracy. They think about career
paths and financial services — again, build this trust. So, I think one of the
things I think would be great is if we could find
ways for more and more law firms to partner with
urban public schools, and have the role models of
lawyers there in the public schools, talking about legal
careers, learning about, again, our capitalist
democracy and how it works, and the three branches
of government. And all the things that
would hopefully develop more trust in all of our systems,
and maybe it would help to create a kind of environment
that was more positive. Finally, as you
know, in Chicago, we’re also under stress
because of the lack of trust in our police and in
our justice system. And so, I think if we
can have lawyers there, building relationships
with inter-city kids, maybe there would be that
more — higher levels of trust, and a better outcome
for all of our communities. Thank you. Martha Minow: Thank you. Thank you very much. (applause) Arne Sorenson, president
and CEO of Marriott International, which, if you
didn’t know — although I, as a customer, has lodging
in 85 countries and territories, a leader in
sustainability, diversity, public policy. Why are you here? Why do you care about this? Why does it matter? Arne Sorenson: Well, maybe
just to prove that I’m not an entirely reformed lawyer. I’ll pick an argument where
one doesn’t exist, which is, I guess, what lawyers
like to do, right? So, I want to talk a little
about why self-interest is actually an important
motivating factor here — not because I disagree with
any of the words that have been said. And in fact, it’s really
special when self-interest drives you to a place
which is also satisfying, from a social perspective,
and from a personal perspective, which access to
justice is certainly one of those areas. Marriott’s been in business
for about 90 years. The founders started with a
9-stool root better stand, about two miles
away from here. A&W root beer stand. And famously, when the
first cold weather came, they added chili
dogs to the menu, and it became the Hot Shots. But from the beginning,
what they said was, “Take care of the associate,
and the associate will take care of the customer, and
the customer will come back again and again.” We, today, are no longer
really in the restaurant business, unless restaurants
are in the hotels. But we have about 350,000
people around the world who wear our name
badge every day. And they range from brand
new employees who’ve never had jobs before to new
immigrants to very successful managers. And we depend on them to
deliver the experience we need them to deliver
to our customers. Think about that, and think
about the work that J.P. Morgan has done recently to
access how many of us are ready for a crisis in
our lives, financially. And this is not just a
question about the working poor. This is essentially the vast
majority of working people and middle class people
who really do not have the resources to deal with
an unexpected event, whether that be a legal
event, or some other event. And those are the events
that derail people. And obviously, the fewer
resources anyone has, the easier it is
to be derailed. You can derailed by one of
your kids being nabbed and thrown in jail, by a
divorce, by a drug issue, by an issue with a landlord,
by an immigration issue, maybe, for a family member,
by a death in a family, certainly by a health issue. All of these things are —
can be career threatening. And obviously, from
our perspective, cause us not maybe just
to lose an associate, but have that associate
totally distracted from their work. And so, we have,
for years, said, how do we make sure
we’re doing what we can? Of course, that’s
satisfying. And it’s something
that, by itself, we take enormous
pride in saying, “Look at the way that life
has been transformed.” But it also is essential that
it be in our self-interest because it’s in
our self-interest, we can build programs where
all of our associates can access — we call it
resources for life. It includes legal resources,
but also financial resources and healthcare resources,
where they can go and get a free legal service
consultation, to figure out, “Do I need a lawyer?” Obviously, we’re not going
to set up our own law firm, and we wouldn’t
have the expertise, nor the efficiency,
to do that well. But we can provide services
to people who — so that they can say, “This problem
has just arisen in my life. What should I do about it? Is this just a form? Can you get a form? Is this a regulatory matter? Can you help me file a form
with the government for disability benefits?” for example, which we do
through our healthcare provider, too. But that ends up helping
them through it, and it helps us, too because
it causes our people to be, of course, more loyal to us. But even more
important than that, much more engaged in the
work that they’ve got to do, and take pride in the
growth of their careers, as opposed to being
unable to come to work, or thinking everyday,
all day long, while they’re at work
about the crisis which is consuming their lives. Martha Minow:
Well, thank you. And it’s such a good
reminder that legal needs are like health needs. They’re essential for people
being able to lead their lives, just ordinarily. So, thank you. Debra Cafaro is identified
by the Harvard Business Review as one of the 50 best
performing CEOs in America. She is the chair of Ventas
Inc., which is a S&P 500 company with 1,300
healthcare and senior living properties. She is on the board of the
University of Chicago. And she is a leader in
corporate governance and philanthropy, and she’s
going to get the question: why do you care? Why are you here? Debra Cafaro:
Thanks, Dean Minow, it’s really an
honor to be here, and I’m a bit new to this,
so I hope you’ll forgive me. I will say that it’s —
while I’m really happy to talk with you, they did not
call on us at the University — they didn’t tell us they
were going to call on us at the University of Chicago — Martha Minow: (inaudible) — exactly, so it was always
— we had to be on our tiptoes. Anyway, I grew up as a
working class kid in Pittsburgh, and I think I
understood from a very early age how important it is that
people get a fair shake. And I think that in —
when I was growing up, it was easier to get a fair
shake than it is today. And I do think
getting a fair shake, an important component of
that is access to justice. And so, what you do at legal
services really enables, I think, more people to feel
like they have a fair shake, which enables, of course,
our democracy to function, and for people to have
trust in the system. I would say what I
see in my business, as a large owner of senior
living and healthcare assets is a huge number of seniors
and veterans who would be entitled to many
benefits and services, and the ability to access
both the healthcare system and other kinds of benefits
who are completely unable to do so because they don’t
have anyone to help them navigate through the system. And the last thing I
would say is as a parent, I have a disabled daughter,
and she’s developmentally disabled, and I see a lot of
her peers who are indigent, and who don’t have the
resources that our family does. And those families
are utterly bereft, in terms of being able to
find educational solutions, being able to access, again,
benefits and navigate the healthcare system. And obviously, it is the
right thing to do to provide resources to that community,
to enable them to have a full life and be citizens,
and that’s obviously also great for a democracy and
great for our economy, be able to hold jobs and be productive members of society. So, that’s why
I’m here today, in addition to Mr. Levi. Martha Minow: Thank you, and
I’m so glad that you are. And those are
wonderful points. Brad Smith. President of Microsoft. Leader around the country. You’ve been described as the
de facto ambassador for the tech industry at large,
says the New York Times. Civic leader for kids
in need of defense, chairing the leadership
council Legal Diversity. I have been told that you
were the first attorney at Covington and Burling who
made it a condition of joining — of taking a job
there, that you had a P.C. on your desk. Is that true? Brad Smith: That is true. (laughter) Martha Minow:
And Brad Smith, you are a real hero of mine. I’m so glad you’re here. Brad Smith: Well,
I also want to say, I have twice visited the
University of Chicago, and I enjoyed it! (laughter) So, I feel very comfortable
with all of you. Rather than echo the very
good words that I think so many people have offered
about why business cares, I think another interesting
question to think about is why should anyone else care
about whether business cares about this issue? And I think people should. Because at bottom, what
we’re talking about is a legal challenge that I think
is fundamentally an economic problem. There is a mismatch between
supply and demand of legal services on a persistent
basis for a very important part of the population. It is a gap that the free
market will not close. People don’t have the money
to buy these services. It is a gap that, at
least in its entirety, government support
will not close. So, how will we
close this gap? And I think, in addition
to everything else, it really calls for an
innovation imperative. I think it calls for
a legal innovation, but also business
process, business model, and technology innovation. Just think about the
examples we’ve heard about this afternoon. When you allow someone
of low income to file an affidavit in lieu
of paying a fine, that represents legal
innovation that actually changes the curve of demand for additional legal services. When you take training
and you automate it, you take a part of the legal
process that a business pursuant would say is
a business process, and then you use technology
innovation to reduce the cost, and frankly, reduce
the barrier to entry. A lot of what we’ve done
with kids in need of defense is try to innovate around
the business model, to create a new
public-private partnership that involves some
government financial support, a model built
around people who are permanent — in effect,
legal aid employees, with lots of volunteers. In this — at this point,
329 law firms, companies, law schools, and
bar associations. And when I looked at the
future at where technology is going — when I listen
to Mark and think about pro bono net, the great untapped
opportunity for the next two decades, frankly, is
around technology. Whether it’s around taking
other processes — like translation. So many people speak
different languages. And yet, I know with
our Skype translator, we can have an English
speaking lawyer speak with a Spanish speaking client. Or you take that in-take
example that Jim was describing, and when I think
about where machine learning is going to go, and natural
language interfaces, none of this is a panacea. But we can do so much more. And I think it fundamentally
brings me to the last thing I think a lot about, which
you heard about a moment ago. Why is it, as lawyers, that
we are so generous, and yet, I think we quite rightly
feel underappreciated? I think part of the answer
is this: as lawyers, we spend a lot of our time
talking to other lawyers. We need to spend more of our
time talking to people who are not lawyers. We need to spend more of
our time listening to and learning from people
who are not lawyers. And more than anything else,
we need to enlist people who are not lawyers in helping
us surmount this fundamental legal challenge. Martha Minow: So
powerfully said. You know, I — (applause) So, if — Arne figured out
that lawyers can create an argument when
there isn’t one, and Brad reframed the
question to answer a better one. I would just say that we
had one more question, which I’ve been told we
don’t have time to address, but you began to address,
Brad — I guess I would leave this as the ask to
everybody: how can we, who care about this issue,
which you have demonstrated so powerfully, better
connect with people who can help solve the issue? Which I think will be people
outside of the way lawyers think about how you do it,
because lawyers actually have come up with business
models that are not working, and with court systems that
charge fees that put poor people in a debt spiral, and
we need to talk with other people. And I actually think that
the people who are here represent the kind of talent
and knowledge and innovation that would make
a big difference. And I know many, many of you
are already collaborating with people on technology,
on business systems. And it does require
some humility, that we will not solve
this problem without collaborating
with other people. With apologies to our
amazing panel for not getting to the rest
of our questions, we do thank the Vice
President for his appearance, but he
took our time — (laughter) — but I’m going to ask
everyone to join me in thanking our panel. I’m going to ask Brad Smith
to just save one minute. Everybody, please. (applause) And so, Brad Smith,
Jim Sandman, and also, Mark O’Brien,
please come up on. Thank you. This is the surprise
announcement. Jim Sandman: I am thrilled
to be able to announce that Microsoft has committed
at least $1 million. Martha Minow: Wow. (laughter) Brad Smith: You’re
giving him ideas. This is making me nervous. Jim Sandman: And it’s
project management expertise to create the very first
statewide online access to civil justice portal. This follows up on a
recommendation of the technology summit that LSE
convened a few years ago. The idea of the portal is
that there would be a single online point of entry for
anyone seeking help with a civil/legal need. It will draw together
all of the players in the civil/legal justice
community — the courts, legal services providers,
pro bono lawyers, existing technology,
online training videos. And it will use triage
technology to direct the person to the most
appropriate level of effective service under
the circumstances, taking account of things
like the nature of the matter, the capacity
of the client, whether the opponent
is represented, what’s at stake. This will be done with state
of the art internet and cloud technology. It will be standards
compliant. It will be accessible
from any device, and it will be open source
so that anybody can replicate it. And the idea is that this
will be a pilot that we then hope can be used nationwide
to transform access to justice. Thank you, Brad Smith,
and thank you, Microsoft. (applause) Brad Smith: I just want to
mention the partnership with Mark and pro bono Net, and
just a — what I think we have the opportunity to do. And our real goal here is to
create the foundation for a new era of technology
innovation by creating open sourced platforms that
anybody can build on, can be localized
for any state. And I hope, more
than anything else, that we can enlist a new
generation of engineers to work with us so that we can
create technology that will help close this gap. So, we very much look
forward to working together. Thank you. (applause) Jim Sandman: Sorry,
I’m up again. I’d now like to
— am I ready? To introduce Neil Eggleston,
the White House Counsel. Neil has had a remarkable
career in law, both in public service
and in private practice. He clerked for Chief
Justice Burger. He was an assistant United
States attorney for many years. He was special counsel —
he was counsel to a house special committee. He was associate counsel
in the White House in the 1990s, and he has been White
House Counsel since 2014. Please welcome
Neil Eggleston. Neil Eggleston: Thanks
to everyone here. I am here to introduce your
next speaker, Loretta Lynch, although I just told her I
was going to spend a few minutes talking about the
President before I got around to her, and she
thought that was okay. So, I hope it’s okay
with all of you as well. I especially want to thank
John Levi and Rebecca (inaudible) for their
work in organizing these discussions — (applause) — I took a — I was
unable, I’m sorry, to be here earlier today,
but I took a look at the — sort of the agenda
for the day, and I’m particularly sad
that I missed the panel on fees and fines because
that’s — and I’m — sorry, I’m sure that people here
have participated in it. That’s been an area of
interest of mine, really, since I got involved with
the policing task force in Ferguson. The Department of Justice,
as I’m sure now everyone knows, has done some really
terrific work on that recently, with a
letter going out. And it’s about as important
work that people do. It’s just a way that people
get enmeshed into the system, and they just
cannot get their out of it. And so, the work that was
done — and I’m sure that the discussion earlier today
was really important on that subject, and I thank all of
you for being so involved in it. The issue of making our
justice system fairer is really critically important
to the President of the United States. I talk to him about
this issue a lot. He’s committed to ensuring
that we have a balanced and equitable justice system. It’s something that he has
demonstrated over the course of this administration. It’s why he signed into law
the Fair Sentencing Act, which was bipartisan
legislation that reduced sentencing disparity between
powder — cocaine and crack cocaine offenses. It’s why he directed
Ban the Box, which is a step that the
administration has recently taken for federal positions,
and I know a number of — I can’t remember whether
it includes Microsoft, actually, but I know a
number of companies have also adopted this recently,
which essentially delays asking about prior
prosecutions and convictions into much later in the
interview process. This has done a lot to help
the formerly incarcerated get back into society. Because if they come out and
then they can’t get a job, their ability to get their
lives together and not get back into prison is
significantly reduced. So, that’s been a very
significant sort of action the President has done what
he can with the federal government, and I want
to thank Industry, which has also embraced
that enormously, and we’re very
appreciative of that. It’s also why the President
asked the Department of Justice to review the
overuse of solitary confinement across U.S. prison systems, resulting in important reforms that will accept — affect some 10,000
federal prisoners who are held in restrictive housing. It’s also why he established
a task force on 21st century policing, which developed
concrete recommendations to enhance trust between our
men and women and law enforcement and the
communities that they serve. And it’s also why we’ve
been working so hard, and are continuing to work
very hard — talked about it with the president today, on
sensible criminal justice reform that will make our
system more fair and more effective. The President also made
clear that he cares about using the authority granted
him under the Constitution to achieve fair treatment of
people who have previously received disproportionate
sentences in the criminal justice system. This is the clemency
initiative that you’ve heard a fair amount about that the
President is also enormously committed to. I’m spending a lot of
my personal time on it. I’m the last stop between
the recommendation and the President, and we’re
continuing to work on that. We’ve seen the number —
he’s already given — issued more clemencies than the
last five or six presidents combined, and
we’re, you know, sort of — we’re
only in April. We’ve got a lot
of time left, and there’re going to
be a lot more coming. The President has also shown
his commitment to a balanced and responsible criminal
justice system by nominating Merrick Garland to sit
on the Supreme Court. Chief Judge Garland has
been serving the public for virtually his entire career. As a lawyer in private
practice at Arnold and Porter, Chief Judge Garland
handled several significant pro bono cases. After making partner, Chief
Judge Garland made the unusual choice to accept a
line level job as a federal prosecutor, serving his
community by investigating and prosecuting gang
violence and corrupt prosecution — I’m sorry,
corrupt politicians. That was right
here in Washington, D.C. He then moved to the
Department of Justice, where he oversaw some
of the most significant prosecutions of the 1990s,
including the Oklahoma City bombing, always taking pains
to do everything by the book. Today is actually the
anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. And he has, in his 19 years
of service on the bench, he’s demonstrated an
unwavering commitment to the rule of law, forging
consensus among strong-minded judges
on that court, on both ends of
the spectrum, while still taking the time
to tutor students at a local elementary school, and
mentor dozens of law clerks — excuse me, many of them
women who have gone on to pursue careers in public
service themselves. And finally, turning back
to Attorney General Lynch, he has proven his commitment
to these fundamental issues of fairness by naming
Loretta Lynch to be the Attorney General. She is a true leader who is
fighting every day to keep us safe, and to improve our
criminal justice system. After graduating from
Harvard Law School and a period in private practice,
Loretta joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the
eastern district of New York — I might say I was an
assistant in the southern district of New York;
it’s only a river apart, but the rivalry is intense. (laughter) She forged an
impressive career, prosecuting cases involving
narcotics, violent crime, public corruption,
and civil rights. In 1999, President Clinton
appointed her to lead the office as the U.S. Attorney. She served in that
position until 2001, and then went back
to Hogan and Hartson. While at Hogan, she
performed extensive pro bono work for the International
Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which was
established to prosecute individuals responsible for
the human rights violations arising out of the
genocide in Rwanda. In 2010, President Obama
asked her to resume her leadership at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn. Under her direction,
the office successfully prosecuted numerous
corrupt public officials, terrorists, cyber criminals,
and human traffickers. And now, she’s been on the
job as the Attorney General for about a year — I think
we’re just about at her anniversary. Under her leadership, the
department has continued to be a strong voice and a
leader on the critical issues that all of you have
been discussing today. And it is my great pleasure
to introduce to you the 83rd Attorney General of
the United States, Loretta Lynch. (applause) Loretta Lynch:
Good afternoon. How’re you doing? (applause) Oh, good afternoon,
everyone. Thank you. Thank you so much. Good afternoon, everyone. That’s okay, for a full day,
but I think this crowd’s got more energy. Good afternoon, everyone! Audience Members:
Good afternoon! Loretta Lynch: There we go! We got a lot of work to do,
so we got to keep up our energy. So, thank you so much for
making some time for me here at the end of your day. I want to thank Neil for
that kind introduction. Neil did tell me — he said,
“I’m here to introduce you, but I want to talk
about the President.” And I said, “Look, always
lead with the big guy, you know?” But the reason why that
is not only okay with me, but I think the perfect
tone with which to set this ending commentary
is because, as with every initiative,
all the things we do, the commitment
comes from the top. And when you have that
commitment from the top — of any organization, whether
it’s the administration, whether it’s the Department
of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, or a
company, as we have seen, that is when you
see real change. And that is when everyone
builds into their own models of accountability and
productivity in the things that they do. And I can’t tell you what a
pleasure it is to work in this administration and
have so many partners, not just Neil and his other
colleagues at the White House Counsel’s Office, but
my colleagues throughout the administration and
other agencies. And of course, in the
Oval Office itself, who are truly, deeply,
bone-deep dedicated to this issue. This issue of fundamental
fairness cuts through, I hope you see, everything
or so many things that this administration has focused
on over the years, from access to healthcare
to access to legal care. The idea that individuals
ought to have a pathway to, in fact, exercise their
fundamental rights is not novel. It’s not new. But this administration is
working to make it real, and I’m tremendously
proud to be a part of it. So, you all have
had a great day. I, too, have
seen the agenda. I’ve been quite
impressed by it, and had the ability to watch
a part of the last panel from the Green Room,
over there, in the back. You know, from which we
always emerge from the curtain, to the
awe of the crowd. But let me thank everyone
who’s worked so hard to put this panel together. I see my dean, Martha Minow,
who is here, led the panel. I know that John
Levi’s here. I know that Jim
Sandman is here. The leadership of the Legal
Services Corporation, over the last several years,
has been groundbreaking. You led us in
new directions. You focused on the core
mission of providing legal services while also making
sure that you embrace the new technology offered
by Microsoft and others, and you embrace
the new ideas, and that you truly listen to
the people whose needs you are trying to serve. And that’s actually nothing
short of revolutionary, so I thank all
of you for that, and for your
commitment there. There’s some colleagues of
mine from the Department of Justice whom you’ve seen
earlier today — Lisa Foster and her team at the Office
of Access to Justice. They work every day — all
day and well into the night, to broaden opportunity, to
expand horizons for people who don’t always think of
government as the place they should turn to for help. And Lisa and her
team work very, very hard to change that. And so, I thank them every
day for all that they do. (applause) All of your speakers today
— I particularly am sorry that I missed, as
Neil indicated, the earlier panels. And I know that you had
Congressman Kennedy here earlier, and Congressman
Kennedy and Congressman Brooks have organized the
first access to civil legal services caucus
in the house. And that’s — and I meet
with the different caucuses regularly to talk about
their different points of interest and focuses. And this, I think, is one
that I think is going to expand and grow and pull
in members from across the aisle, and from all
ranges of experience. But the caucus that focuses
on access to Civil Legal Services, recognizing
that this, too, is one of government’s
fundamental missions. And I was actually
privileged to hear about the Microsoft announcement. Brad, that is
groundbreaking. I think to marry technology
and the law in a way that helps — in a way that
expands access to justice for so many people, is
really going to be the model of things to come. I tell you, I actually
first heard of this model, of using online resources
when I was in Rwanda last fall, talking to the
Minister of Justice there. And of course, in a country
that, only 22 years ago, was completely devastated,
and saw their legal system in particular,
completely devastated, they’ve had to focus on
innovative ways to make sure that people in far-flung
areas have access to justice. And they’ve —
they’re using kiosks, and automated kiosks
there, as well. And I remember thinking this
is something that we need one of our great American
companies to pick up and do. And of course,
there is Brad, and as you are
in so many ways, partnering with the
legal profession, and with these ideas,
and bridging that gap. And it just — I think it’s
just such a tremendous testament to
your team there, and so I thank you
for all of you. And thanks to all of you
who have come here together today to talk about, to
think about, to plan, to build on all of
these great ideas, to support the mission
of the Legal Services Corporation, which is so
fundamental to the tenants of our great society. And of course, that mission
is nothing less than the fulfillment of one of our
fundamental promises to every American — the
promise, the conviction, the commitment, that
in the United States, here in this country, every
single person should be equal under the law. But of course,
as you all know, and as you have discussed,
for far too many Americans, justice is a commodity that
they feel they can’t afford, rather than a right, a
fundamental birthright, to which they are entitled. And in this country, in this
time, and particularly, in this administration,
that is unacceptable. It’s just unacceptable. We can’t have it. Inadequate access to justice
can devastate families. It damages communities. And ever worse, it erodes
Americans’ trust in our institutions of
government and law. And realistically, how can
you expect someone to trust their government when they
can’t even get in the courthouse door to be heard? Or if they do, they find
that the justice system that’s supposed to be free
and open and working for them is trying to charge
them some kind of entrance fee. How can you expect
that kind of trust? And without that
essential trust, as we have seen in so many
areas of modern life, people are literally adrift. People are alone. They are without support at
some of the most difficult times of their lives. And when they
look out for help, and when they look for
someone to have their back, Legal Services
Corporation is there. And so, I thank you
so much for always, always extending a hand and
fulfilling that commitment. This forum itself is part
of that commitment, and so, it’s a wonderful thing
that you do every year. And I’m, again, thankful
that you’ve asked me to spend a few
minutes with you. Now, people coming here
today are coming from a variety of backgrounds, a
variety of experiences, and I thought the last panel
was fascinating in all of the different responses to
the issue of why is this an important question. How does it tie into
financial services? How does it tie into
the business community? How does it tie into
the tech community? But what I thought,
as I was listening, what struck me was that the
common thread among all of the vaunted and so wonderful
business leaders that I heard was their connection
to the human capital that is still the essence of every
enterprise in this country. And without the protection
of that human capital, without investment in
that human capital, without the growth of
that human capital, these organizations will not
grow and thrive and be the leaders that they need to be
into the 21st and even 22nd century. Now, there are also so many
people here from other areas who’ve focused on
this issue also. We have judges here. I know so many chief judges
are here who are really, really focused on making
sure that their courtrooms are open and
accessible to everyone. Our legal aid lawyers who
are here, in the trenches, every day. I will tell you that some of
my most fulfilling moments when I was in private
practice was when I was proud to serve on the board
of the Legal Aids Society of New York, and the Federal
Defenders Society, also in New York. Working with those lawyers
to make sure that they had the resources they need to
carry out this essential mission. And now that I’m at the
Department of Justice, I am tremendously proud
to stand with all of you. Every group here has such an
important role to play in this inspiring role. And we are determined to
continue to do our part, as well. To fight alongside with you
for the rights of our most vulnerable citizens. And that’s why we took to
heart your recommendation, stemming from an earlier
conversation that we’ve had on this very issue. Our December 2015 convening
on the issues of fees and fines and access to
justice, and one of the recommendations that we
received from this group was that the department work on
providing greater clarity to our state and local court
partners regarding their legal obligations, with
respect to fees and fines, and to share best
practices in this area. And I want you to know that
we took that to heart. And just last month, we
provided that information to court systems
around the country, and we look forward to
working closely with you on the other recommendations
made, both at that time, and the recommendations that
will come out of today’s convening today as well. But that’s also why we’re
looking to the future because even though
justice is a birthright, in order to ensure that
we can dispense justice, of course, we
need resources. And that is why we are
proposed a number of new initiatives in the
President’s fiscal 2017 budget request. Yes, we have hope that there
will be a budget in 2017. (laughter) I’m new in Washington. I can still have hope. And these initiatives that
we’re supporting include grants that would allow
states to improve the delivery of legal services. It includes funding to
establish a civil legal aid research institute. And it’s why we also
strongly support the President’s fiscal 2017
budget request for the Legal Services Corporation. And that request for
2017, at $475 million, is $90 million more than
Congress appropriated this year. (applause) The need is real. The need is deep. And we know that you are
effective stewards of this money on behalf of the
people who truly need these resources. LSC is the backbone of civil
legal assistance throughout the United States, and I am
urging Congress to fund it at a level that reflects
this tremendous importance to the creation of the more
equal country that all of us strive to serve. Now, of course, as — in our
efforts to expand legal aid, we’re so proud to partner
with Legal Services Corporation, but we also
rely on partners from across the federal government. And in my role as
Attorney General, I am tremendously proud to
co-chair the White House Legal Aid Interagency
Round Table, which bears, of course, the rather
unfortunate acronym of LAIR — because everything
in D.C. has an acronym. But it’s staffed by the
Office for Access to Justice, Lisa
Foster’s office, and it brings together 21
different federal agencies in an effort to identify
and enhance legal aid opportunities. Because as we’ve
also discussed, sometimes in the discussions
that we have on this issue, talking just
lawyer to lawyer, we think in a linear
lawyer to lawyer way, and we can miss what’s
right under our nose. There’s a very real need of
someone for access to legal justice. And so many federal programs
depend upon access to justice in order to make
their promise real. Now, the President recently
recognized the importance of LAIR’s work by elevating
it to the level of a White House initiative last
September — September of 2015. And it is going to be
a tremendous resource, we think. And through that, as well as
through the reentry council, we’re identifying barriers,
just to everyday life, that people could use the
assistance of lawyers in order to surmount. Not just housing,
but employment. Employment discrimination,
or just help in knowing whether or not
there is a claim. In learning — and people
who are coming back into society will often need
legal assistance in determining whether or not
they’re eligible for certain grants and jobs. And when that assistance is
provided across the board, we see services being
utilized at a higher rate. We see people actually
taking advantage of all the benefits of American life. Now, also, with the
Corporation for National and Community Service,
we’ve joined with them, with our Elder Justice
initiative and our Office for Victims of Crime. Together, this tripartite
group has recently launched what we’re calling Elder
Justice Americorp. Now, Elder Justice Americorp
is a grant program. It is going to expand the
capacity of local legal aid programs to specifically
address elder abuse and neglect and exploitation. Because we are seeing
this on the rise. And because, of course, our
elderly citizens — those who raised us, and those
whom we seek to honor everyday, deserve to live
in safety and dignity. Some of our other partners
are the Department of Labor. And we’re working with the
Department of Labor to help establish the National
Clean Slate Clearing House. And this is going to help
local legal aid programs and public defenders and reentry
service providers improve their ability to help
clients clean their records and expunge their records
where they have the right to do that. Because Americans with
criminal records deserve a meaningful second
chance in life. And because all of us
deserve to be seen as more than the worst thing
that we have ever done. In this fall, we’re going to
roll out the first annual report to the President
on LAIR’s progress, and this document is going
to — this document is going to detail the series of
programs and initiatives, some of which I’ve
mentioned just now, but it’s going to outline
everything that we’re working on that will
also include a legal aid component. And this work must go on. And I know that we have
several chief justices who have been here
throughout the day, and I want you to know that
I stand with you and your colleagues, and the
conference of chief justices in your commitment to
provide meaningful and appropriate legal services
to every person with an essential legal aid need. You see it all. The homeowners who are
struggling to avoid foreclosures, the survivors
of domestic violence who are seeking protective orders,
the parents who are fighting for custody of
their children, and the veterans who
have defended our rights overseas, only to be denied
their rights here at home. So many situations which cry
out for legal assistance across the board. So many of our fellow
Americans who deserve protection. So many people to whom we
have a responsibility to act. And of course, it’s this
responsibility, this belief, that led Congress to
create the Legal Services Corporation in 1974. And it’s that conviction
that all of us here today, in this room and beyond,
are reaffirming today. And although we still have a
long way to go, it is true, before every American is
truly equal under the law, I am tremendously encouraged
by the progress that we have made. And I am confident that
with the devotion and the commitment of
everyone in this room, we will continue to advance
toward a United States in which every individual in
every community sees the door to the courthouse
as truly open, and where liberty and
justice belong to all. So, thank you for letting me
spend a few minutes with you here today. Thank you for putting this
wonderful forum together — simply, I know, to
pause in your work, to get together and
collect new ideas and new initiatives, and thank you
for so much for what you are about to do, which is go
forth from this gathering and continue the work that
truly makes America great, bringing America home to
everyone on our beloved shores. So, thank you so very, very
much for your work and your caring and your commitment. Thank you. (applause) Martha Minow:
Thank you so much. Male Speaker: Thank you,
Madam Attorney General for your own commitment. Thank you, all of you,
for being with us this afternoon. We reconvene,
for most of us, in a few minutes up
at the Supreme Court. I think Becky said we have
to run to the bus — walk briskly? Now, where we go? Female Speaker: Where
you all got dropped off. So, out the gate
and to the left. Male Speaker: Okay. Thank you, all. And we will see you
up on the court.

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