Access to Justice in California: Challenges and Policy Innovations

Image of a statue of Lady Justice holding scales, photo by Michal_Bednarek/Adobe Stock

Event Details


January 26, 2024


7:45 a.m. – Continental Breakfast and Networking
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Symposium (lunch provided)
5 to 6 p.m. – Reception


RAND Corporation
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, California 90401-3208


Register in advance for this event.

Register Now


In 2019, fifty-five percent of Californians experienced at least one civil legal problem in their household. However, nearly 70 percent of them received no legal help. Courts are seeing an alarming rise in self-represented litigants and an even more alarming crisis of “lumpers,” a term used to describe people who have legal problems but who take no action in the face of those problems.

This symposium will bring together panels of experts and practitioners to discuss unmet legal needs, hear about the variety of policy developments across the country to address those needs, learn about what is working and what isn’t, and unpack critics’ concerns about the loosening of regulations around the practice of law.

We hope you will join us for this event.

Please register by December 19, 2023. This event is invitation-only and is not open to the general public. For further information, email


PANEL 1: Expanding the Supply: Allied Legal Professionals 


Hon. Bridget Mary McCormack, President and CEO, American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution


  • Silvia Argueta, Executive Director, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
  • Christy Carpenter, LLLT, WA
  • Alicia Mitchell-Mercer, Co-Founder, North Carolina Justice for All Project
  • Hon. Ioana Petrou, Justice, California Court of Appeals; Chair, California Paraprofessional Working Group

PANEL 2: Harnessing Capital and Innovation: Entity Licensing and the Regulatory Sandbox


Eric Helland, Adjunct Economist, RAND Corporation; William F. Podlich Professor of Economics and George R. Roberts Fellow, Claremont McKenna College


  • Daniel Abir, Partner, ACTS Law
  • Don Bivens, Chair, Arizona Board of Non-Legal Service Providers
  • Andrea Donahue, Program Director, Utah Office of Legal Services Innovation
  • Erin Levine, Founder and CEO, Hello Divorce
  • Jack Rives, President of Professional Legal Services, Rocket Lawyer

PANEL 3: Expanding the Impact: Justice Workers in Local Communities


Sacha Steinberger, Founder and Co-Executive Director of Legal Link


  • Hayley Cousin, Timpanogos Legal Center, UT
  • Leigh Ferrin, Program Director, OneJustice
  • Nikole Nelson, Executive Director, Alaska Legal Services Corporation
  • Devin Shakespear, Timpanogos Legal Center, UT


Hon. Kelli M. Evans, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court

PANEL 4: The Doctrinal Horizon: UPL, First Amendment, and Antitrust


Nora Freeman Engstrom, Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law; Co-Director, Deborah L. Rhode Center on the Legal Profession


  • Francesca Gessner, Chief of Policy, Office of the Attorney General, California
  • Maggie Goodlander, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Brenda Murphy, President, SC NAACP
  • Dan Rodriguez, former Dean, Northwestern Law
  • Joseph Schottenfeld, Assistant General Counsel, SC NAACP

CLOSING FIRESIDE CHAT: Increasing Access While Ensuring Consumer Protection