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Mediate.com

Accessing Justice

by Joe Markowitz
February 2015

Mediation's Place by Joe Markowitz

Joe Markowitz

A recent artical in the ABA Journal on movements to license legal technicians to perform limited legal services cited a Bar Foundation study showing that most people encountering what the study called "civil justice situations" either handled the situation themselves, did nothing about it, or enlisted the help of friends and family. Only about 22% sought the assistance of people outside their social network. Naturally the ABA article viewed this situation as a potential opportunity for the legal profession to meet unmet legal needs, while questioning whether opening up opportunities for paralegals or other non-lawyers to serve these needs should be allowed.

To me, however, data like that found in this study suggests that the traditional justice system is either too intimidating, too expensive, or too complicated to represent an attractive solution for most people. That means there is a great need to make the traditional justice system less expensive, less complicated, and more accessible. There also appears to be a need to empower people to handle these "social justice situations" more competently themselves (since most people apparently are already handling these situations themselves anyway, for better or worse).

The data suggests opportunities here for mediators and other conflict resolution specialists as well as for lawyers and legal services technicians. If people are generally resorting to self-help anyway, and would generally prefer to solve their legal problems outside of the traditional justice system, it follows that they could use some advice on ways of doing that better. solve common legal problems, since is appears that most people are going to run into them, and most of those people are going to try to deal with those problems themselves.

Biography


Joseph C. Markowitz has over 30 years of experience as a business trial lawyer.  He has represented clients ranging from individuals and small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations.  He started practicing with a boutique litigation firm in New York City, then was a partner in a large international firm both in New York then in Los Angeles, then returned to practicing with a small firm and on his own.  In addition to general commercial litigation, Mr. Markowitz has expertise in  intellectual property, employment law, entertainment law, real estate, and bankruptcy litigation.  Mr. Markowitz has managed his own firm since 1994. Mr. Markowitz was trained as a mediator more than 15 years ago, and has conducted a substantial number of mediations as a member of the Mediation Panels in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the District Court and Bankruptcy Court in  the Central District of California, as well as private mediations.  He has served since 2010 as a board member of the Southern California Mediation Association.   



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Website: www.mediate-la.com/

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