• 2023 Symposium

Access to Justice

February 10-11, 2023

The Stanford Law Review  is proud to announce its Volume 75 Symposium:

Access to Justice

2023 marks the sixtieth anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright. It is, then, an appropriate time to take stock of the access to justice crisis in the United States. The most recent national survey, conducted by the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law, found that only 14% of civil claims “involve courts.” This indicates that 86% of Americans’ legal needs fall into a second category—they go entirely unmet. ​Many tenants, debtors, workers, accident victims, and others can take no action in the face of legal problems and, therefore, are entirely excluded from the civil justice system. Think here of a tenant who is living in an uninhabitable apartment and who cannot access the legal system and thus cannot induce the landlord to make necessary repairs. Like so much else, this justice gap inflicts particular damage on people of color. A 2015 ProPublica study examining debt collection judgments concluded that, “even accounting for income, the rate of judgments was twice as high in mostly [B]lack neighborhoods as it was in mostly white ones.” This symposium will nurture—and draw attention to—reformers’ disparate efforts to close this gap with a mix of theoretical, empirical, and doctrinal interventions. In 2020, the ABA adopted Resolution 115 to “encourage[] U.S. jurisdictions to consider innovative approaches to the access to justice crisis in order to help the more than 80% of people below the poverty line and the many middle-income Americans who lack meaningful access to effective civil legal services.” It is unlikely that the Supreme Court will institute a civil Gideon. But we believe we can build on Gideon to improve access to justice for generations to come.

Symposium Content

The core of the symposium will comprise a series of articles/essays to be published exploring the topic. Authors are welcome to submit their articles for print submission, but SLR will also be soliciting pieces to publish on SLRO. We plan to hold the symposium in-person, from February 10-11, 2023, featuring a host of influential scholars and practitioners.


Amir E. Wright
Symposium Editor
Stanford Law Review | Volume 75

Anais Carell
Stanford Law Review | Volume 75

Past Symposia