The state Supreme Court's proposal to require lawyers to spend a minimum number of hours representing the poor, while well-intentioned, will not do enough to improve access to the legal system.
Mississippians face about 14,000 divorces annually. Perhaps upwards of 5,000 households will face foreclosures in 2010. In addition, Mississippians face untold number of consumer, employment, eviction, and other legal issues. Even if each Mississippi's 6,000 lawyers provided 20 hours of help to those who can't afford a lawyer, it would fall far short of the hundreds of thousands of hours that would be needed to meet these needs.
Read the letter here. The commentary was published as a Letter to the Editor in the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger, December 19, 2010.