Justice Index Team to Receive ABA’s Pro Bono Publico Award


On August 12, 2017, the Justice Index Team of 13 institutions, including Fordham Law School, will receive the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award.

Each year, the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service presents five awards to individual lawyers and to institutions that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged. The Justice Index is the data-intensive website created by the National Center for Access to Justice that illustrates the access to justice crisis in America and promotes reform by identifying best policies for access to justice and ranking states on their adoption of those policies. This will be the second time Fordham Law has received the award: In 2008, the School’s Public Interest Resource Center received the award.

The Justice Index Team comprises volunteers from 13 institutions.

  • six law firms – Kirkland, Morgan, O’Melveny, Patterson, Skadden & Simpson
  • four corporations – Deloitte, GE, Pfizer & UBS
  • three law schools – Cardozo, Fordham & University of Pennsylvania

It Justice Index ranks the 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., in five categories of findings:

  • Attorney Access Index – ratio of civil legal aid attorneys per 10,000 poor.
  • Self-Represented Index – policies to assist self-represented litigants.
  • Language Access Index – policies to assist people with limited English proficiency.
  • Disability Access Index – policies to assist people with disabilities.
  • Composite Index – an overall ranking combining scores from the other four indexes.

David Udell

“The Justice Index is one of the drivers of a national conversation on how to deliver on the core promise we make to each other as Americans:  that everyone must be equal before the law,” said David Udell, Executive Director of the National Center for Access to Justice at Fordham Law School. “By relying on data and technology, the Justice Index shows where the best laws, rules, and policies are in place. By ranking leading and trailing states, the Justice Index builds in incentives for every state to do better.”

In commending the Justice Index to the ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards Committee, former Chief Judge of New York Jonathan Lippman called the index “an extraordinary resource” that “uniquely advances and reinforces the justice system reform efforts of the judiciary and the bar and our other stakeholders.”

“Additionally, the Justice Index is also supporting a new domestic and global movement that is carrying out research in support of justice system reform: with its extensive data sets and its visual depiction of the locations where the best policies are present, or absent, the Justice Index serves as an invaluable tool for researchers … on best practices for access to justice,” Lippman said.

Read the NCAJ press release  about the award. View the full slate of 2017 Pro Bono Publico Award winners.

Tickets for the August 12 awards ceremony are available via the ABA Annual Meeting web site (use promo code “LAIT”).


The NCAJ is part of the Access to Justice Initiative at Fordham Law, which focuses the collective public service energy of the School to deliver on the promise of equal justice, which lies at the core of our concerns as a service-oriented institution and is the foundational bedrock of our constitutional society, through teaching, direct service, and scholarship, research and advocacy. 




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