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Access to Justice Scholarship and Employment Opportunities

The Access to Justice project with the National Center for State Courts is a highly visible interdisciplinary project that aims to radically improve our court system while simultaneously demonstrating the power of interdisciplinary research at the law school and the Institute for Design. This pairing was the key to getting the State Justice Institute and the Open Society Institute to contribute $150,000 each. The entire country is waiting to see what this next semester reveals about our justice system.

We are offering scholarships or jobs as needed to get 5 committed students. The commitment is significant but the importance is enormous. Scholarships will be for 3 credits of a 4 hour course. Alternatively, employment of 15 hours each week at $12/hour to attend the course, participate in the teams and deliver the projects.

In either case, students must be willing to commit to the full 14 weeks. The time commitment is 8 hours of class and team work (2-6 Tuesday and Friday) and additional time in the week to do research and work on the project. Field trips to Lake County, Cook County, Delaware, California or Colorado may be scheduled to gather additional observations.

If you are interested in pursuing either of these opportunities please contact Ron Staudt at 906-5326 or Todd Pedwell at 906-5328.

Justice Web Collaboratory: Public Access to Justice Systems and Systematic Design Workshop (ID 589) offered in conjunction with the Institute of Design

The course is taught by Professor Charles Owen of the Institute of Design and Professor Ronald Staudt and is worth 4 semester hours. Law students may audit this course or take it for credit as approved by the assistant dean and Professor Staudt. Chicago-Kent and the National Center for State Courts are partners in the Justice Web Collaboratory -- a national Internet project designed to support judges use of the web and improve access to justice using the tools of the Internet.

For 18 months beginning in Fall, 2000 the Law School, the Institute of Design and the National Center for State Courts will study and propose a redesign of the complex civil court processes. The target of this study and design project is the construction of a consumer-based model for public access to justice. In Phase 2 of the project, interdisciplinary teams of graduate students from the Institute of Design and law students from Chicago-Kent will continue the research begun in the Fall 2000 Justice Web Collaboratory IPRO.

This course introduces students to the application of Structured Planning methods in relation to complex design problems at the system level. Teams investigate the pro se litigation process in the courts of several states and will develop proposals for improving the quality of the process for litigants and the courts. Team techniques are emphasized, and formatted information handling and computer-supported structuring processes are used at appropriate stages of project definition, information development, structuring, concept development and communication.

An emphasis will be placed on the integration of new information and communication technologies. This represents a bold attempt to harness the power of the Internet and the most advanced process design technologies in order to fundamentally re-engineer civil court processes in which self-represented litigants seek to access judicial services. The consumer-based approach will better meet the needs of not only self-represented litigants, but also the needs of lawyers, judges, court staff and others involved in the judicial process.

Classes are scheduled for Tuesday and Friday afternoons from 2:00-6:00 p.m. on the 3rd floor at the Institute of Design, located at 350 N. LaSalle. Scholarships are available. Students are encouraged to also enroll in ID 529 Structured Planning, either for credit or audit.

Just the Beginning Foundation Website Opens --

The Just the Beginning Foundation ("JTBF") is an organization that is dedicated to commemorating the contributions of African-Americans to the federal judiciary and educating the public on the struggles and successes of African-American lawyers and judges who are role models for future generations. To accomplish this, the JTBF has complied a history of African-Americans in the federal judicial system entitled "From Slavery to the Supreme Courts: The African-American Journey through the Federal Courts." This compilation of historical material is now available at as a result of the combined efforts of the JTBF and the Center for Information Technology and Law.


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