Access to Justice Board 2017-2019 Priorities

The word justice highlighted in the dictionary

The Access to Justice Board prioritizes supporting the Alliance for Equal Justice’s collective effort to repudiate the devaluing and dehumanization of anyone seen as “other,” resisting the rollbacks of civil rights and other equity and justice progress, and realigning ourselves so we can strengthen solidarity among our organizations, agencies and communities.

Below are the ATJ Board’s priorities for 2017-2019.

Promote racial equity both systemically and within the board practices, working toward a vision that race or color does not determine the availability and quality of services, fairness of outcomes, or opportunities for communities and individuals.

  • Engage in activities that create a shared awareness and understanding of what is needed to achieve race equity in our legal systems and society.
  • Conduct a race equity self-audit to identify practices that impede diverse recruitment and retention in board members, staff, and volunteers, and develop strategies to eliminate those practices.
  • Raise Board competency and capacity to advance race equity in our legal system and society through ongoing trainings and adoption of race equity tools.
  • Increase the visibility of activities and successes in advancing race equity that are supported by Alliance organizations and the greater legal community.
  • Partner with the Race Equity and Justice Initiative by serving on the Steering Committee and working with other REJI members to implement Goal One in the 2018-2020 State Plan for the Delivery of Legal Services to Low-Income People and activate the Acknowledgements and Commitments.

Create a more integrated legal aid network by breaking down silos and strengthening partnerships across civil, criminal, and juvenile justice systems, and community-based organizations.

  • Work with the Minority and Justice Commission, Gender and Justice Commission and the Interpreter Commission to determine how the Access to Justice Board and those entities can collaborate to eliminate bias and inequity in the justice system.
  • Work with civil, criminal and juvenile system stakeholders to: identify the ways in which the systems intersect; explore how an individual’s involvement with the criminal or juvenile justice system leads to co-occurring civil legal problems and vice versa; identify gaps and explore ways the stakeholders in the different systems can collaborate to increase access to justice; and facilitate the development of methods to close the gaps in such a way that civil, criminal and juvenile justice systems respond in a coordinated and effective fashion.
  • Strengthen partnerships with the Washington State Bar Association and its affiliated justice stakeholders like the Moderate Means Program, the Low Bono Section, the Practice of Law Board and the Limited License Legal Technician Board to leverage our mutual commitment to equity and justice.
  • Promote partnerships to decrease the polarization and division that disproportionately harms communities who experience poverty and marginalization.

Work with the Alliance for Equal Justice to oversee the implementation of the 2018-2020 State Plan for the Delivery of Legal Services to Low Income People.

  • Oversee the implementation and evaluation of the State Plan.

Improve internal and external communications about access to justice issues, the work of the Board and the Alliance for Equal Justice.

  • Continue to implement the Board’s Communications Plan and ensure adequate staffing for Alliance communications.
  • Continue to conduct two Board meetings outside of King County annually for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of the needs and work taking place in different areas of Washington and to share about the work of the Board.
  • Host the biennial Access to Justice Conference in 2019.
  • Continue to prioritize time during Board meetings to hear about equity and justice work being done across the state, particularly from smaller or newer organizations delivering legal services.

Initiate and support efforts to ensure the effective and appropriate use of technology in the justice system and within the Alliance for Equal Justice in order to provide meaningful and equitable access to justice.

  • Provide a voice on key issues that maintain or increase access to justice through technology for people and communities that experience poverty and injustice.
  • Monitor emerging local, state, national and international technology developments for potential adaption or application for Alliance organizations and their client communities.
  • Update the Access to Justice Technology Principles and work with the Communications Committee to develop a communication plan for the updated principles.
  • Monitor implementation of the updated Access to Justice Technology Principles and other uses of technology in the justice system.
  • Support ongoing efforts like the development of technology for automated family law forms, ATJ Tech Fellows, and other work which promotes the intersection of technology and justice for communities that experience poverty and injustice.

Continue to support the Equal Justice Community Leadership Academy to ensure long-term sustainability and engagement.

  • Support JustLead Washington in its work to build long-term sustainability for the Leadership Academy, its efforts to build a network of equity and justice leaders, and its development and delivery of leadership and race equity trainings for the Alliance for Equal Justice and other community partners.
  • Develop a plan to improve engagement of Leadership Academy alumni in the work of the Board and Alliance for Equal Justice.

Work with statewide partners to actively promote and secure state funding to achieve greater access to civil legal aid and stimulate new and effective delivery innovations.

Collaborate with the Office of Civil Legal Aid, the Equal Justice Coalition, the Legal Foundation of Washington, the Washington State Bar Association and others to coordinate and leverage support for increased state funding for civil legal aid.

Download a PDF version of these priorities.