New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

My Activities As A Delegate Of The American Bar Association

Author: attorney Alena Shautsova

Many of you have called my office this week and were not able to reach me as I was out of state. I have decided to include here a brief overview of my activities outside of the office, so you too can share any concerns with me regarding the points I will mention here and contribute to the process of improving our justice system.

The reason for my recent travel was my service as a delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates (the “HOD”). The HOD meets twice a year during its Annual and Mid-year meetings. In between, I also participate in the House of Delegates meetings for the New York State Bar Association.

The American Bar Association is one of the largest, if not the largest professional organization of lawyers in the United States. It also includes members outside of the U.S. Currently, it has about 400,000 members. The House of Delegates is a policy making body of the ABA. It’s primary purpose is to establish the ABA’s policies through adopting proposed resolutions or proposals on various topics concerning justice system in the U.S. For example, this Annual Meeting’s topics included protection against domestic violence for the same sex couples; expungement of juvenile delinquency records; protection against sexual harassment for students on campuses; transparency in financing for legal education; and many other issues, including standards of representation in Immigration. As one can tell, the points that we discuss and vote on at the HOD concern a wide spectrum of topics and eventually, hopefully, will result in legal implementation by the State and Federal government. Another important issue that was discussed during this past meeting was the Future of the Legal profession. Attorneys, judges and government officials around the U.S. recognize that we need to improve access to justice and modify the current system so that it is affordable and transparent. Here is where I would like to hear from you. Many of you have probably faced a situation when you tried to do something yourself in terms of obtaining legal help and faced significant obstacles and/or ended up in a worse situation than before. What would you suggest would have been helpful: more do-it-yourself forms? A free, even if a short one, consultation with an attorney? Would you trust a trained professional, but not an attorney to handle your matter? Would you like to see more samples of filled out forms? What your greatest difficulty in the legal process? If you are an attorney, what do you think has to be done so that more lawyers would be able to help more clients, including indigent population? Please, reach out to me at I will be happy to hear from you.

Finally, if you are a non-lawyer and you might think that nobody cares about your problems and there is no help out there, you are wrong. There is a large community of people who do care, and you just need to reach out to them. It may not be easy, and may take some time, but there is help and there are people who are committed not only to increase their personal wealth, but to serve their country and their people… for one who believes that justice for one person does not matter, denies justice to everybody.

07 August 2015
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