The American Legal System falls short of providing access to justice for all. With “Gaming the System: Approaching 100% Access to Legal Services through Online Games,” 88 CHI.-KENT L. REV. 917 (2013) (forthcoming), William E. Hornsby, Jr. proposes that law schools can alleviate this problem by developing online games that would increase engagement with the law and improve understanding of the circumstances under which legal solutions are available.
Will Hornsby is staff counsel at the American Bar Association, where he has provided support to the Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services since 1990. Since joining the ABA staff in 1988, he has also supported the Standing Committee on Professionalism, the Commission on Responsibility in Client Development, the Committee on Research on the Future of the Law, and the ABA Presidential Commission on Access to Lawyers. Hornsby has authored an array of materials including books, white papers and law review articles at the intersection of technology and legal practice. He is also an adjunct professor at the John Marshall Law School Center for Information and Privacy Law.
Hornsby observes that people often do not recognize when they have a problem for which a legal solution is available, and therefore do not seek out lawyers or other assistance from the justice system. The costs of legal services deter some. For many, however, it is lack of engagement, rather than affordability, that causes people to forego legal solutions. While technology has addressed efficiencies in the legal process and has driven down costs, it has not sufficiently fulfilled its potential for creating engagement. Hornsby’s submission to the Chicago-Kent Law Review offers a way that law schools could increase engagement and close the justice gap.
“By all measures, the American Legal System falls short of providing access to justice for all. Legal needs studies show that people often do not recognize when they have a problem for which there is a legal solution and therefore do not seek out lawyers or the justice system to provide assistance with their problems. Some assert that the costs of legal services are beyond the means of many people. While that is true for the poor in some areas of law, both the marketplace and specific programs, such as lawyer referral modest means panels, provide affordable legal services for many types of legal matters. For many, it is not affordability but lack of engagement that causes people to forego legal solutions. Technology has addressed efficiencies in the legal process, once again driving down costs, but has not fulfilled its potential for creating engagement. Even though the public finds the courtroom a focal point of popular culture, from novels to movies to daytime television, the legal profession has not done a good job of using the Internet to engage the public about their legal needs. The Army has used Massive Multi-player Online Games (MMOGs) to engage potential recruits and in fact serve as an effective recruiting tool. Others have used MMOGs as platforms to explore societal crises such as petroleum dependency and crowd- source solutions to medical issues. Law schools, which are leading the creative use of technology for legal matters, are well-positioned to take the lead in the development of online gaming to advance engagement in ways that enable people to recognize the circumstances under which they have legal solutions to their problems.”
Hornsby will expand on this article while presenting during the live, in-person symposium on June 15, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. For more information.
Throughout the next two weeks, as the live symposium approaches, the CALI Spotlight Blog will preview another symposium presentation each day:
- June 5, 2013: Marc Lauritsen, “Liberty, Justice, and Legal Automata”
- June 6, 2013: William E. Hornsby, Jr., “Gaming the System: Approaching 100% Access to Legal Services Through Online Games”
- June 7, 2013: Conrad Johnson and Brian Donnelly, “If Only We Knew What We Know”
- June 8, 2013: Richard S. Granat and Stephanie Kimbro, “The Teaching of Law Practice Management and Technology in Law Schools: A New Paradigm”
- June 10, 2013: Oliver R. Goodenough, “Developing an e-Curriculum: Reflections on the Future of Legal Education and on the Importance of Digital Expertise”
- June 11, 2013: Tanina Rostain, Roger Skalbeck and Kevin Mulcahy, “Thinking Like a Lawyer, Designing Like an Architect: PReparing Students for the 21st Century Practice”
- June 12, 2013: Ronald W. Staudt and Andrew P. Medeiros, “Access to Justice and Technology Clinics: A 4% Solution”
- June 13, 2013: Hybrid Courses of the A2J Clinic Project
- Tanina Rostain & Roger Skalbeck, Technology, Innovation and Law Practice: An Experiential Seminar at Georgetown University Law Center
- Judith Wegner, Becoming a Professional at UNC School of Law
- Sunrise Ayers, A2J Clinic at Concordia University School of law
- June 14, 2013: Traditional Clinical Courses of the A2J Clinic Project
- Conrad Johnson, Mary Zulack & Brian Donnelly, Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic at Columbia Law School
- Joe Rosenberg, Main Street Legal Services, Elder Law Clinic at CUNY School of Law
- JoNel Newman & Melissa Swain, Medical Legal Clinic at University of Miami School of Law
- June 15, 2013: Kevin D. Ashley, “Teaching Law and Digital Age Legal Practice with an AI and Law Seminar;” and Vern R. Walker et al, “Law Schools as Knowledge Centers in the Digital Age”
Professor Ashley and Professor Walker are unable to attend the in-person symposium on June 15, 2013, but their valuable contributions will be published with the printed edition of the Chicago-Kent Law Review that accompanies the live symposium.