National Center for Access to Justice Launches Justice Index Results Reveal Best Practices in Access to Justice in all 50 States

New metrics show disparities in number of attorneys for people in poverty,
support for people with limited English proficiency, access to justice for people
with disabilities, and help for people proceeding without lawyers

View Index Here

New York, NY, February 26, 2014 – The National Center for Access to Justice
(NCAJ) today announced the launch of the Justice Index – its new online tool which
compares the quality of access to justice in statewide justice systems. The Justice
Index is the first of its kind, which uses cutting edge interactive map technology to
show the geographical distribution of access to justice across the US.

In its first installment, the Justice Index presents data in four categories reflecting
key elements of access to justice in statewide justice systems, including: i) the
number of attorneys for people in poverty; ii) the amount of support for people with
limited English proficiency; iii) access for people with disabilities; and iv) help for
people proceeding without lawyers.

The Justice Index presents specific new findings on access to justice in the states,
including the following key findings:

• Some states have fewer than one civil legal aid attorney per 10,000 people
who are poor while there are 40 attorneys for every 10,000 people across the
nation.
• 24 percent of states do not have a rule authorizing court clerks to provide
informational assistance to people who have no lawyers.
• 45 percent of state judiciary web sites do not provide information in any
language other than English.
• 25 percent of the states don’t yet assure quality by using language
interpreters that are “certified.”
• 22% of states allow judges to charge a deaf or hearing impaired person for
the cost of a sign language interpreter.
• 47 percent of states do not authorize judges to take steps to ensure that
unrepresented individuals are fairly heard. 

The Justice Index also provides two types of overall scores allowing comparisons of 
states to one another: i) a composite score shows the overall performance of each 
state in all categories of data combined; ii) a categorical score shows the overall 
performance of each state in each individual category. 
 
“The Justice Index promotes data-driven conversation on how best to deliver on one 
of the core promises we all make to each other as Americans: that everyone must be 
equal before the law,” said David Udell, Executive director of NCAJ. “One of our main 
goals of the index is to start the conversation about where best practices are in place 
or needed in our state justice systems.” 
 
The Pro Bono Effort that Created the Justice Index 
 
NCAJ is guiding the development of the Justice Index as part of an unprecedented 
collaboration among multiple pro bono supporters. 
 
• The Pfizer Legal Alliance (PLA) led the research for the Justice Index. 
• A team of 10 attorneys and staff from Skadden Arps (a PLA firm) carried out 
the research to produce the first installment of the Justice Index. 
• Additionally, teams of law students from Cardozo School of Law and 
Pennsylvania School of Law contributed to the research. 
• UBS also helped to carry out the research for the Justice Index. 
• Deloitte analyzed the data, calculated the indices, and deployed the latest 
visualization tools to display the results in the Justice Index. 
• MSDS, the NYC based web design firm, built the Justice Index web site that 
houses the data, making it available to the public. 
“The PLA is taking part in this signature project to help realize the NCAJ’s vision of 
both discovering the degree to which our country assures access to justice and 
creating a roadmap to strengthen our justice system going forward,” Ellen Rosenthal, 
Chief Counsel of the PLA said. “We are thrilled by this pro bono project which is in 
complete alignment with the PLA’s model of collaboration and innovation.” 
 
“By engaging the public with fact-based data, in an interactive and thought 
provoking way, we hope to enhance transparency and accountability within the 
justice system,” said Jeremy Perisho, partner, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services 
LLP. “Deloitte takes great pride in knowing that what we do best – applying our skills 
and expertise to client engagements – can accelerate positive, societal impact.” 
 
For the full results of the Justice Index visit www.justiceindex.org, or to learn more 
about the National Center for Access to Justice, visit: www.ncforaj.org. The NCAJ will 
be releasing the second installment of the Justice Index in 2014. 
 
Requests for Modifications to the Justice Index 
 
The NCAJ invites requests at info@ncforaj.org for clarification or correction of data in 
the Justice Index. For requests received on or before May 31, 2014, NCAJ will 
determine whether to modify the Justice Index. Information provided after May 31, 
2014 will be incorporated into Phase 2 of the index.
 
About The National Center for Access to Justice 
 
The NCAJ is the academically affiliated non-partisan law and policy organization 
dedicated exclusively to increasing access to our nation’s civil and criminal justice 
systems. In carrying out its reform initiatives, NCAJ works closely with the bar, the 
judiciary, law schools, the legal aid community, and many other stakeholders 
including social services agencies and client groups. NCAJ’s tools include litigation, 
reports, public education and public advocacy, conferences, legislative drafting, and 
the latest data visualization tools. NCAJ makes its home at Cardozo School of Law 
where it periodically teaches the Access to Justice Clinic. In building the Justice 
Index, NCAJ is working with Pfizer, the Pfizer Legal Alliance (Skadden Arps and other 
PLA law firms), Deloitte, MSDS, UBS, Cardozo School of Law, and Pennsylvania 
School of Law. The Justice Index is an NCAJ Project. For more information about the 
Justice Index, visit www.justiceindex.org. For more information about NCAJ, visit 
NCAJ’s web site, www.ncforaj.org. 
 
About the Pfizer Legal Alliance 
 
Established in 2009, the PLA is a collaborative partnership between Pfizer and 15 law 
firms that has transformed the way legal services are delivered and valued. The 
cornerstones of the PLA are innovation, efficiency, relationship-building and 
enhanced communications between Pfizer’s in-house lawyers and outside counsel. All 
PLA firms work for Pfizer on a flat fee basis exclusively and together perform the vast 
majority of the company’s legal work across the globe. 
 
 
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Media Contacts 
 
Amy Fathers 
212-279-3115 ext 209