To further that mission, the commission’s five-year strategic plan, covering 2015-2020, focuses on three initiatives to promote equal access to justice for Wyoming citizens:
Initiative # 1: Continued Support for Legal Services in Wyoming.
The Wyoming Access to Justice Commission was instrumental in obtaining legislation to create a funding mechanism for legal aid programs through a $10 filing fee or assessment on all cases. These fees generate approximately $1.4 million annually to help fund legal aid for those who cannot otherwise afford it. The commission is committed to supporting continued and stable funding for legal services. Over the next five years, the commission will monitor the stability of current state funding generated from filing fees, support efforts to increase funding for legal services and access to justice initiatives, and explore additional methods to increase funding, including pro hac vice fees, cy pres awards, as well as other potential sources.
The need for legal services far exceeds the resources available to meet the demand. 175,000 Wyoming residents financially qualify for legal aid services. Although over 3,000 people receive assistance from legal aid providers each year, there is still a large unmet need. National studies find that only about 20% of the legal needs of the low-income are currently being met. There also continue to be geographic areas of Wyoming that are underserved.
The Commission will communicate the need for and use of the funds to stakeholders, including the legislature, legal community, and the public.
The Commission will raise public awareness of this issue and investigate various methods for delivery of legal services over the next five years, including:
Initiative # 2: Communications and Public Awareness.
The Wyoming Access to Justice Commission seeks to strengthen communications and public awareness of legal resources to three groups: (1) Wyoming’s legal community including lawyers and judges; (2) Wyoming legislators and other government leaders; and (3) the general public.
Initiative # 3: Inspiring Pro Bono Service by Wyoming Attorneys.
The Wyoming Access to Justice Commission has partnered with Equal Justice Wyoming and the Wyoming State Bar to support and expand pro bono (free) legal services for Wyoming’s low income population. Since the launch of the pro bono campaign, lawyer participation in the statewide Volunteer Lawyers Program has increased by 185%. More than 140 attorneys have pledged to provide pro bono legal services and more than 200 low-income individuals received assistance through the pro bono program in 2015.
Equal Justice Wyoming manages a statewide network of pro bono attorneys addressing civil legal needs. The Wyoming State Bar helps recruit volunteer lawyers through the joint “I’ll Do One” pro bono campaign in partnership with Equal Justice Wyoming.
|Bradley Bonner||Attorney at Law||12/31/2018|
|John M. Burman||Professor Emeritus of Law & Ethics, University of Wyoming College of Law||12/31/2019|
|Hon. Shelley Cundiff||Circuit Court Judge, 4th Judicial District||12/31/2018|
|Stuart R. Day||Attorney at Law||12/31/2018|
|Hon. Timothy C. Day||District Court Judge, 9th Judicial District||12/31/2019|
|Walter F. Eggers, III||Attorney at Law||12/31/2018|
|Bob Jensen||Wyoming Business Leader||12/31/2018|
|Jessica Keith||Legal Aid Board Member||12/31/2018|
|Hon. Tori Kricken||District Court Judge, 2nd Judicial District Court||12/31/2018|
|Hon. Richard L. Lavery||District Court Judge, 3rd Judicial District||12/31/2018|
|Hon. Tom Lockhart||Wyoming Legislator||12/31/2018|
|Bradley Scott McKim||Attorney at Law||12/31/2018|
|Dona Playton||University of Wyoming College of Law||12/31/2018|
|Amanda Kay Roberts||Attorney at Law||12/31/2019|
|Hon. John St. Clair||Chief Judge, Shoshone and Arapaho Tribal Court||12/31/2018|
|Tenille Lynn Straley||Attorney at Law||12/31/2018|
|Hon. Anne Sutton||District Court Clerk, Teton County||12/31/2018|
|Hon. Gen Tuma||District Court Clerk, Natrona County||12/31/2019|
|Sharon Wilkinson||Executive Director, Wyoming State Bar||12/31/2019|
|Lawrence J. Wolfe||Attorney at Law||12/31/2019|