getting local politicians to back self-help centers

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Today’s Metropolitan News-Enterprise (Los Angeles, CA) reports that a new Self-Help Law Access Center recently opened in the Santa Monica Courthouse of the Los Angeles County Superior Court.  (“Lefkowitz Praises New Facilities in Santa Monica Courthouse,” Nov. 16, 2006)  It’s great that a sixth Self-Help Center has opened in LA County, allowing “court customers to receive information about legal forms, court appearances and courtroom procedures from attorney-supervised paralegals and trained volunteer,” and supplementing extensive online self-help resources.  And, it’s nice to read that West District Supervising Judge Linda Lefkowitz is proud of the new facility, which is funded by the LA County Department of Consumer Affairs

politician  But, what is especially heartening is seeing that it was the efforts of Zev Yaroslavsky, an LA County Supervisor that “led to board approval of the facility’s funding.”  When local politicians are smart enough to see the need for courthouse centers to help the unrepresented litigant, and when they are savvy enough to know that such support can have political advantages, we should see much more being done around the country to give the public the kind of accessible court system that they deserve.  Consumers and their advocates need to take this message to their legislators.  It is a win-win issue for the public and political leaders who join the cause.    

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