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Innovations in Bridging the Justice Gap in Rural America

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 91 minutes
Recorded Date: December 16, 2019
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• Defining Rural and Rural Access to Justice Issues
        - Defining Rural
        - Common Rural A2J Issues
        - Criminal Law A2J Challenges
        - Aging of the Bar
        - Multi-Level Justice Problems
        - Cumulative Effects of Reduced A2J
        - Needs for More Data
• Exploring Solutions to Rural A2J
        - What is Access to Justice?
        - Access to Attorneys
        - Access to Courts
        - Access to Appropriate and Timely Resources

Runtime: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Recorded: December 16, 2019

For NY - Difficulty Level: Experienced attorneys only (non-transitional)


The panel will delve into innovative technology and programs for bridging the justice gap while debunking myths about rural America.

This program was recorded on December 16th, 2019.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Hon. Melissa S. May

Judge, Fourth District Court of Appeals
Indiana Judicial Branch

Melissa S. May was appointed to the Indiana Court of Appeals by Governor Frank O’Bannon in April of 1998. She was born in Elkhart, Indiana. She received a B.S. in criminal justice from Indiana University-South Bend and, in 1984, a J.D. from Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. She is also a graduate of the Graduate Program for Indiana Judges.

Prior to her appointment to the Court, Judge May practiced law for fourteen years in Evansville, Indiana, where she focused on insurance defense and personal injury litigation.

Judge May has been active in local, state, and national bar associations and bar foundations. She served the Indiana Bar Association on the Board of Managers from 1992-1994, as Chair of the Litigation Section from 1998-1999, as Counsel to the President from 2000-2001, as Chair of the Appellate Practice Section from 2008-2009, and as Secretary to the Board of Governors in 2008-2009. She is also a member of the Indianapolis Bar Association and the Evansville Bar Association. She is a fellow of the Indiana Bar Foundation and is currently serving on their Board of Directors. Judge May is a fellow for the American Bar Association, and a Master Fellow of the Indianapolis Bar Association.

From 1999 until December 2004, Judge May was a member of Indiana’s Continuing Legal Education Commission, where she chaired the Specialization Committee. She is currently on an Advisory Panel to the Specialization Committee. In 2005, she was named to the Indiana Pro Bono Commission and in July 2008, she was named as Chair of that Commission. While chair, she worked with the fourteen pro bono districts to train lawyers and mediators on how to assist homeowners facing foreclosure. Judge May was appointed to the Coalition for Court Access in 2018. In addition, she was a member of the Board of Directors of the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum from 1994-1999 and has been a co-chair of ICLEF's Indiana Trial Advocacy College from 2001 to present. Judge May also served on the Civil Instruction Committee, an Indiana Judicial Conference Committee, which has been working to translate all of the civil jury instructions into “plain English.” She frequently speaks on legal topics to attorneys, other judges, schools, and other professional and community organizations.

In 2003, Judge May was named to the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Attorney Specialization She is now special counsel to that committee In the spring of 2004, Judge May became adjunct faculty at Robert H. McKinney School of Law, where she teaches a trial advocacy course Also in the spring of 2004, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law from the University of Southern Indiana. In 2015, Judge May became a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Judge May was retained on the Court of Appeals in 2010, and lives in Marion County.

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Heather S. Kulp

Bay Path University

Prior to joining Bay Path University, Professor Kulp was a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School and Clinical Instructor at the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program. There, she supervised students conducting dispute systems design and conflict assessment projects with organizational clients. She also taught in the Negotiation Workshop and the Harvard Negotiation Institute.

Immediately after law school, she served as a Skadden Fellow at Resolution Systems Institute in Chicago, where she assessed and designed court-based dispute resolution programs. She consulted with multiple state's courts and government agencies regarding foreclosure mediation program design. Her first career was as an entrepreneur and journalist; she founded and managed Alive Arts Media and Alive Magazine, a publication created by and for young women.

Professor Kulp is currently the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for the New Hampshire Judicial Branch.

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Amanda L. Kool

Lecturer in Law
Harvard Law School

Amanda L. Kool is the Director of Legal Operations for the Commonwealth Commercialization Center (C3), a newly-formed, national-model partnership between Kentucky’s public colleges and universities to translate intellectual property and innovations into market-ready products and startups while providing businesses with access to collective public resources. Funded by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, C3 is intended to encourage and support entrepreneurship within its partner institutions and beyond, better connecting our state’s entrepreneurial communities to our colleges, universities, and to one another into order to more efficiently and impactfully leverage entrepreneurship as a tool for economic development across the Commonwealth. Amanda is also the lead project consultant with the Kentucky Access to Justice Commission, working to identify existing resources in Kentucky's comprehensive civil justice system, uncover gaps in and barriers to those resources, and devise data-driven solutions to address those shortcomings in concrete and innovative ways. Amanda is a co-founder of the Alliance for Lawyers & Rural America (AfLARA) an organization that facilitates conversations, ideas, information, and resources at the intersection of law and rurality.

Prior to moving to Kentucky in 2017, Amanda was a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School and a Clinical Instructor in the Transactional Law Clinics of Harvard Law School. While there, Amanda directed the Community Enterprise Project, a clinical program of the Transactional Law Clinics that serves clients who live and work in the Boston neighborhoods surrounding the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. In addition to engaging in direct client representation, Community Enterprise Project students partner with community organizations to develop and implement strategies to address persistent legal barriers to economic development. Amanda also served as a Supervising Attorney with the Harvard Recording Artists Project, a student practice organization in which teams of Harvard Law School students join with Berklee College of Music students to represent recording artists, producers, composers, and other music industry professionals in a broad range of entertainment law matters.

Amanda earned her JD from Northeastern University School of Law and a BA from the University of Kentucky.

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Monica A. Fennell

Pro Bono Director
Taft Stettinius & Hollister, LLP

As pro bono director, Monica leads the pro bono program across Taft’s 11 offices. This includes identifying and developing opportunities for the program, establishing an integrated pro bono system across the firm, and ensuring that all Taft pro bono legal services are consistent with Taft’s values and commitment to improving the communities it serves.

With over 30 years of experience in the legal industry, Monica brings a trusted perspective to Taft’s pro bono program. Before joining Taft, she was part of a team that managed a firm’s pro bono program and led pro bono activity at five of the firm’s offices, including over 400 attorneys. Prior to that, Monica served as the executive director of the Indiana Pro Bono Commission and was a Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States. Monica began her legal career as a litigator in big cities and a small town.

Monica earned her B.A., cum laude, from Williams College and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. She also has a professional development certificate in peace and conflict studies as a Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

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