How “Lawyerless” Courts Fail Everyone


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There is a massive disconnect between what courts were designed to do—solve legal disputes through lawyer-driven, adversarial litigation—and what these courts are asked to do today—help people without lawyers navigate complex social, economic and interpersonal challenges, most of which are deeply tied to structural inequality. As a result, the judicial role is in upheaval, according to our guests. In this episode, we discuss how we got here and if we can fix it.


  • Colleen F. Shanahan, Clinical Professor of Law, Columbia University Law School; Founder of Columbia Law School’s Community Advocacy Lab
  • Anna Carpenter, Professor of Law, Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law; Senior Director, Presidential Initiatives, Office of the President, University of Utah; Founder and Director of the Justice Lab at Utah College of Law
  • Alyx Mark, Assistant Professor of Government, Wesleyan University.

Article: “America’s Lawyerless Courts,” written by Anna E. Carpenter, Colleen F. Shanahan, Alyx Mark and Jessica Steinberg.

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