There are 40,993 lawyers in the Garden State, according to the American Bar Association, and their numbers grow every year. Despite that, the employment rate for recent law school graduates has fallen six years in a row. So it’s logical to think that supply is outstripping demand.
That’s not necessarily so. Four in 10 Middle Americans can’t afford a lawyer to help them solve their legal problems. This trend is known as the ever-widening “justice gap.”
As part of a national initiative to address this problem, the New Jersey State Bar Association has created a Blue Ribbon Commission on Unmet Legal Needs, to be cochaired by retired state Supreme Court Justice Virginia A. Long and former state Supreme Court Justice Helen E. Hoens. The commission will look at a variety of programs, such as initiatives at law schools, law firms, bar associations, the judiciary, and nonprofits.