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Supreme Court of Georgia Forms Civil Justice Committee to Examine Access issues

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

  • Mike Monahan
  • State Bar of Georgia Pro Bono Project

Atlanta, May 3, 2006-The Supreme Court, by order dated May 2, 2006, has
finalized the member selection of the Committee on Civil Justice. The Committee
will be chaired by Marc Gary, general counsel for BellSouth Corporation. Anne
Lewis, a partner at Strickland, Brockington & Lewis, LLP, has been selected to
serve as Vice Chairperson. Committee members will serve four-year terms.

Created in May of 2005, the Committee on Civil Justice will work to
strengthen Georgia's civil justice system by developing, coordinating and
supporting policy initiatives to expand access to the courts for poor and vulnerable
Georgians.

Although Georgia has made significant strides in meeting the needs of
indigent criminal defendants, for many of its poorest citizens requiring assistance
in civil legal matters, the promise of meaningful access to justice has been slow in
coming. In any given year, nearly 40% of the state's poorest citizens have at least
one civil legal need, but only 1 in 10 is able to secure legal representation.
Legal services programs, pro bono legal organizations, and volunteer
lawyers are currently working to meet the needs of indigent civil litigants, but their
efforts have been hampered by inadequate resources. Additionally, they are often
restricted in the types of cases they are authorized to handle, and their
geographical reach usually does not extend to those requiring assistance in the
more isolated areas of the state.

Building on the work begun by the State Bar of Georgia, the Committee on
Civil Justice will assist stakeholder organizations in developing strategic alliances,
eliminating duplication of effort, and securing the legal, financial, and political
support necessary to improve the delivery of services to those in need. Some of
the Committee's specific initiatives include: promoting public understanding of
access to justice problems; improving collaboration and training for advocate
organizations; increasing coordination of services; and encouraging lawyers and
judges to take a leadership role in expanding access to justice.

Committee Members:

Marc Gary (Chairperson)
Anne Lewis (Vice Chairperson)
Charles T. Lester, Jr.
Hon. William S. Duffey, Jr.
Hon. Wayne M. Purdom
Linda Klein
Thomas D. Hills
Rita Sheffey
John B. Long
Paul Todd Carroll, III
Representative Edward H. Lindsey, Jr.
Michael Tyler
Cubbedge Snow, Jr.
W. Terence Walsh
G. Sanders Griffith, III
Timothy Floyd
Richard H. Deane, Jr.
Terrance Dicks
Derek White
Hon. Willie Lockette
Victor Lai
Senator Seth Harp
Reverend Jane Fahey

Advisory Council Members:
Steven Gottlieb
Phyllis Holmen
Hon. Sharon Hill
Michael L. Monahan
Martin Ellin

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