Millions of low and middle-income Americans face legal problems every day. Most cannot afford an attorney. What is remarkable about these legal problems is that they are ignored by legal educators. American law schools, the training ground for our lawyers, do not focus on the civil legal problems of low and middle income persons. American law students are taught to focus on the legal problems of persons or entities able to pay for legal services. Not only are the common legal problems of Americans not studied in our law schools, the maldistribution of legal services in the society is barely even acknowledged by legal educators. One consequence of the law schools' inattention to the legal needs of a large majority of Americans is the low incidence of pro bono work by practicing attorneys. This article describes how American law schools fail to teach law students about the public service responsibilities of lawyers. It also explores ways legal educators can better prepare their students to perform these responsibilities in their legal careers.


The Justice Mission of American Law Schools