Freedman Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics Lectures


Justice for All: Moving Toward Civil Gideon in New York

Lecture Date


Streaming Media


The right to an attorney in a criminal proceeding was firmly established by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, in 1963. The United States has lagged in establishing the right to counsel in the civil arena. In 2016, the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index for Civil Justice ranked the United States 28 out of the 113 countries assessed, due in part to deficient accessibility and affordability of civil justice. The quest for the right to counsel in civil cases, or “Civil Gideon,” has inched forward in the state of New York in New York City housing cases. This accomplishment is the result of many hands: community members, community organizers, attorneys and elected officials.

This panel will explore whether Civil Gideon is fundamental to ensuring justice in the civil arena. The panel will also discuss the Universal Access to Counsel Program in New York City Housing Court and the community-based effort that spurred the New York City Council and the mayor of New York to fund this unprecedented multimillion-dollar effort.

Co-sponsored by the Asian-Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA), the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), the Latino/a American Law Students Association (LALSA), Phi Alpha Beta, the Public Justice Foundation, and the South Asian Law Student Association (SALSA).

Speaker Information


Susanna Blankley, Coalition Coordinator, Right to Counsel NYC Coalition

Randy Dillard, CASA Leader

Adriene Holder, Attorney-in-Charge, Civil Practice, The Legal Aid Society

Andrew Scherer, Policy Director of the Impact Center for Public Interest Law and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Law, New York Law School


Judge Fern A. Fisher, Visiting Associate Professor of Law, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University

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