The need for language interpreters and rural lawyers as well as other fairness considerations will take center stage when lawyers and judges gather at Georgia State University College of Law from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 15 to consider ways to promote greater access to justice.
The event is the fourth in an annual series of training sessions called “Eliminating Barriers to Justice,” according to Jana Edmondson-Cooper of the Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Interpreters, one of the program’s founders.
Check-in is to begin at 9:15 a.m. Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice P. Harris Hines will open the program at 10 a.m. with a speech entitled, “Access to Justice: A Priority of the Judiciary.” Both Hines and his predecessor, Chief Justice Hugh Thompson, have spoken of the need for more lawyers around the state. Like some other states, Georgia has a concentration of lawyers in the cities, while some rural counties have few or none. Hines has also made a pledge to increase the number of language interpreters available in all Georgia courts.
State Bar of Georgia President Brian “Buck” Rogers is to follow. Rogers’ presentation is titled, “Addressing a Critical Need—Why the State Bar is working to Address Access to Justice Challenges in Georgia.” Rogers has made access to justice a priority of his term as leader of the state bar.
The four-hour CLE program will include three panel discussions. Edmondson-Cooper will moderate the first, on language access and federal practice. Panelists include: M. Scott Boone, a professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall School of Law; Christine Stoneman, principal deputy chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Coordination and Compliance Section; Will Traynor of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, federal Public Defender Regina Cannon; and interpreter David Hoover.
Mike Cuccaro of the Judicial Council will moderate the second panel to update lawyers on Georgia policy. Fulton County State Court Judge Susan Edlein is to speak, along with DeKalb County State Court Judge Dax Lopez, Talley Wells of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society and former state bar president Charlie Lester, who chairs the Justice for All Task Force.
Lester will moderate the third panel. Supreme Court Justice Nels Peterson is to participate, alongside Emory University law school professor Silas Allard and Laureen Kelly, director of the Dougherty County Law Library, a lawyer active in the access to justice movement around the state. Kelly offers resources and help for people who can’t afford or find lawyers.
Registration was set to close Nov. 3 but will likely be extended to Nov. 7, depending on capacity and availability of space, Edmondson-Cooper said. The registration link is https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Justice4.