Access to Justice Structure
New Jersey has no formal Access to Justice entity. Access to Justice functions have been
performed effectively over the years through a coordinated effort between the New Jersey
State Bar Association and Legal Services of New Jersey, which serves as a
funder/fundraiser and provides state coordination and support, as well as direct
representation and advocacy.
Efforts to expand funding for civil legal assistance at the state level have been highly
successful. Out of a total of more than $37 million currently dedicated to legal services in
New Jersey, approximately $14 million comes from state funding and approximately $12
million from IOLTA (although IOLTA is declining). Approximately $2 million comes
from counties, other governmental units, and private sources. Only 13 percent of the
funding of the state’s LSC grantees comes from LSC.
Legal Needs Study
A comprehensive legal needs study, the first in the state since the 1980s, was completed
in 2002 by Legal Services of New Jersey’s Poverty Research Institute.
Each of New Jersey’s six regional legal aid programs program operates a separate pro
bono program to assist indigent clients in their service area. These local efforts are
coordinated through a statewide Pro Bono Task Force led by Legal Services of New
Jersey. Legal Services of New Jersey itself operates a number of statewide "boutique"
volunteer panels, which provide pro bono assistance to indigent clients and non-profit
organizations in specialized areas. Substantive training is available at no cost to attorneys
who participate in Immigration Asylum and Domestic Violence pro bono panels.
To accommodate volunteers who do not wish to become involved in cases which require
litigation and court appearances, Legal Services of New Jersey is in the process of
developing an infrastructure to allow pro bono attorneys to participate in its statewide
Access to Courts
Legal Services of New Jersey has worked closely with the state court system for several
years to coordinate and mutually support efforts to improve access and materials for pro
se litigants. The state court system has also endorsed and co-sponsored efforts by Legal
Services of New Jersey to secure grants for a pilot interactive kiosk project. Work on a
demonstration initiative began in early 2003.
Effective January 2003, the Legal Services Corporation consolidated its service areas in
the state, resulting in mergers that reduced the number of LSC-funded programs from 14
to six. Statewide coordination of delivery continues to be provided by Legal Services of