1 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia A Report Drawn from the 2007/2008 Georgia Legal Needs Study Sponsored by the Committee on Civil Justice Supreme Court of Georgia Equal Justice Commission Conducted by the A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research Kennesaw State University Additional analysis, reporting and organization by D. Michael Dale June 2009
2 Committee on Civil Justice Supreme Court of Georgia Equal Justice Commission Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, Ex-Officio Anne W. Lewis, Co-Chair Teri P. McClure, Co-Chair P. Todd Carroll Richard H. Deane, Jr. Terence A. Dicks The Honorable William S. Duffey, Jr. Reverend Jane Fahey Timothy W. Floyd Senator Seth Harp Thomas D. Hills Linda A. Klein Charles T. Lester, Jr. Representative Edward H. Lindsey, Jr. The Honorable Willie Lockette John B. Long The Honorable Wayne M. Purdom Rita A. Sheffey Cubbedge Snow, Jr. Michael Tyler W. Terence Walsh Derek J. White Martin L. Ellin, Advisor Steven Gottlieb, Advisor Sharon N. Hill, Advisor Phyllis J. Holmen, Advisor Michael L. Monahan, Advisor Jill O. Radwin, Executive Director Tracy Powell, Project Coordinator
3 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia A Report Drawn from the 2007/2008 Georgia Legal Needs Study Sponsored by the Committee on Civil Justice Supreme Court of Georgia Equal Justice Commission Conducted by the A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research Kennesaw State University Additional analysis, reporting and organization by D. Michael Dale June 2009
4 Acknowledgements Funding for the Georgia Legal Needs study was provided in generous part by: Georgia Bar Foundation State Bar of Georgia Georgia Legal Services Program, Inc. Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc. Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP Kilpatrick Stockton LLP Hunton & Williams LLP Real Property Section, State Bar of Georgia Atlanta Bar Association Labor & Employment Section, State Bar of Georgia Lawyers Foundation of Georgia Corporate Counsel Section, State Bar of Georgia Alston & Bird Business Law Section, State Bar of Georgia King & Spalding DLA Piper USA Foundation Atlanta Bar Foundation Workers Compensation Section, State Bar of Georgia Legal Economics Section, State Bar of Georgia Family Law Section, State Bar of Georgia General Practice & Trial Section, State Bar of Georgia Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation Fiduciary Law Section, State Bar of Georgia Intellectual Property Section, State Bar of Georgia Troutman Sanders Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP McKenna Long & Aldridge Powell Goldstein Frazer & Murphy Georgia Association for Women Lawyers Foundation Honorable William S. Duffey, Jr. Dispute Resolution Section, State Bar of Georgia Grier Law Office PC Charles T. Lester, Jr. Appellate Practice Section, State Bar of Georgia Health Law Section, State Bar of Georgia Environmental Law Section, State Bar of Georgia Gate City Bar Foundation Litigation Section, Atlanta Bar Association Labor and Employment Section, Atlanta Bar Association John B. Long Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys Women & Minorities in the Profession Committee, State Bar of Georgia Individual Rights Section, State Bar of Georgia Bankruptcy Section, State Bar of Georgia Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice Dispute Resolution Section, Atlanta Bar Association Estate Planning & Probate Section, Atlanta Bar Association Workers Compensation Section, Atlanta Bar Association Women in the Profession Section, Atlanta Bar Association Technology Section, State Bar of Georgia Taxation Section, Atlanta Bar Association The Committee on Civil Justice wishes to acknowledge former Co-Chair Marc Gary, and the assistance of Dr. Kirk Elifson and Karlise Y. Grier. The Committee on Civil Justice commissioned this study of the civil legal needs of the low and moderate income population of Georgia to provide up-to-date information and analysis about the current level of access to the civil justice system in the state. The Committee on Civil Justice intends to use this report together with other information for planning purposes to improve access to the civil justice system in Georgia. The A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research - Kennesaw State University Dr. Carol Pierannunzi, Director, principal investigator and project administrator Dr. Linda Johnston, Director of the Center for Conflict Management, field work Kelleigh Trepanier, Paul Vaughn and Terry Sloope, telephone survey operations Author D. Michael Dale was a legal services lawyer and administrator for more than twenty five years. He has authored or consulted on state-wide legal needs surveys in Montana, Oregon, Utah and Washington State. Design and layout of this report was done by Barry Golivesky,
5 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia i Contents Table of Charts ii Definitions of Key Terms Used in this Report Executive Summary What are the needs of low and moderate income households in Georgia, and how are they addressed? What obstacles interfere with access to the justice system? How are attorneys and legal services providers responding? Introduction Methodology 7 What are the Substantive Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Georgians? Legal Needs Identified by Low and Moderate Income Households 11 Overview of the RDD Survey results Number of legal needs of low and moderate income Georgians per year Substantive Legal Needs Identified Specific issues within the major categories of legal issues that were experienced by low and moderate income households Consumer Housing 14 Health Public Benefits Employment 16 Education Family Law 18 Overview of results of interviews with Hard-to-Reach Populations Consumer Housing 20 Health Employment 21 Education Family Law 21 Legal Needs as Identified by Service Providers Legal Needs as Perceived by Court Personnel v
6 ii Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia What happens when a low or moderate income household in Georgia experiences a civil legal need? How many of the legal needs of low and moderate income households are addressed with the assistance of an attorney? With the Assistance of an Attorney Without the Assistance of an Attorney 26 For households that found a lawyer to assist them with a legal issue, what form of legal services were provided? Why did so few low and moderate income households obtain legal assistance? What were the results of the various strategies employed by the surveyed households in dealing with their legal problems? Satisfaction with the Outcome Satisfaction Without the Use of an Attorney Being Self Represented Satisfaction with Results when Assisted by an Attorney Unrepresented Litigants Create a Number of Problems for the Efficient Operation of the Courts What barriers to access to the justice system were identified in the survey? How are attorneys and legal service providers responding? Legal Services Providers The Private Bar 37 Who is providing pro bono or low cost services? Why do Georgia attorneys offer pro bono representation? What are the barriers to doing pro bono? 40 What could encourage more lawyers to offer pro bono services? Training and Mentoring 44 Free Malpractice Insurance 44 Referral Process/Lack of Administrative Support 44 Discrete Tasks Conclusion
7 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia iii Table of Charts Figure 1: Demographics of Hard-to-reach Respondents 9 Figure 2: Location of RDD Survey Respondents 10 Figure 3: Legal Problems per Household in State Legal Needs Studies Figure 4: Substantive Legal Needs Reported in RDD Study Figure 5: Differences between Low and Moderate Income Households Figure 6: Consumer Problems Figure 7: Housing Problems Figure 8: Health Problems 15 Figure 9: Public Benefits Problems 15 Figure 10: Employment Problems Figure 11: Nature of Employment Discrimination Reported Figure 12: Education Problems 17 Figure 13: Family Problems Figure 14: Substantive Needs Reported by Hard-to-Reach Households Figure 15: Comparison of Legal Issues Reported by Both Hard-to-Reach and RDD Respondents Figure 16: Comparison of Legal Needs Reported by Hard-to-Reach and RDD Households 20 Figure 17: Top Three Legal Needs According to Providers Figure 18: Needs Most Sought by Clients According to Providers Figure 19: Legal Needs Reported by Court Personnel Figure 20: Position of Court Respondent Figure 21: Unmet Legal Need Figure 22: Form of Services Provided Figure 23: Did Respondent Know the Problem was Legal? Figure 24: How Much Trouble did the Legal Problem Cause? Figure 25: Whether Satisfied with the Outcome 28 Figure 26: Satisfaction Self Representation Figure 27: Satisfaction where Self Representation is Involuntary Figure 28: Satisfaction Assisted by Attorney Figure 29: Obstacles to Smooth Court Operation Figure 30: Access Barriers Identified by Court Personnel Figure 31: Obstacles to Clients Responding to Legal Needs (Provider Survey)
8 iv Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia Figure 32: Knowledge of Legal Resources (RDD Survey) 34 Figure 33: How did Household Find a Lawyer? Figure 34: Ability to Use the Internet (RDD Households) 36 Figure 35: Barriers Experienced by Providers in Meeting Legal Needs Figure 36: Attorneys in Survey Doing Pro Bono by Firm Size Figure 37: Mean Hours of Pro Bono and Reduced Fee Service by Firm Size 39 Figure 38: Source of Pro Bono Referral 39 Figure 39: Motivation for Pro Bono Work Figure 40: Discouraging Factors Reported 41 Figure 41: Most Common Area of Practice of Attorney Respondents 41 Figure 42: Areas of Practice Attorneys Decline to Accept for Pro Bono Representation Figure 43: Effect of Training on Willingness to Accept Other Areas of Law Figure 44: What Would Encourage Participation in Pro Bono?
9 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia v Definitions of Key Terms Used in this Report Low Income Households with a total income that does not exceed 150% of the Federal Poverty Level. In 2007, the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for a household of four in the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia was $20, For the purposes of this study, a low income household of four in 2007 would have an income of no more than $30,000 (approximately 150% of the 2007 FPL). Moderate Income Households with a total income between % of the Federal Poverty Level. In 2007, the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for a household of four in the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia was $20, For the purposes of this study, a moderate income household of four in 2007 would have an income of no more than $60,000 (approximately 300% of the 2007 FPL). Pro bono Uncompensated legal services performed for the public good 3 ; Legal services provided without a fee or expectation of fee to persons of limited means 4. Pro se One who represents oneself in a court proceeding without the assistance of a lawyer 5. For the purposes of this study, may be referenced as self-represented litigant. Hard-to-reach population Selected client populations who are perceived as being difficult to reach by telephone. For the purposes of this study, the selected client populations defined as hard-to-reach include homeless persons and families, deaf persons, elderly persons, persons of limited English proficiency, and the incarcerated or recently/ formerly incarcerated. Random digit dialing (RDD) A computer based form of telephone sampling that pulls telephone numbers at random whether they are listed or not listed to provide a representative survey sample. 6 For the purposes of this study, Ci3 CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) For Windows software program from SawtoothSoftware, Inc., was used to administer all surveys. Providers Professionals working directly with the client population in a range of agencies including legal services, immigration assistance, information and referral, emergency housing, homeless assistance, employment assistance, job training, domestic violence, family support, education, disability assistance, mental health, HIV/AIDS, senior service, veterans and other similar agencies. Legal need Any set of circumstances involving rights or responsibilities recognized by law or regulation, or something for which the household might have appropriately consulted a lawyer or otherwise sought relief from the civil justice system. 7 Within this report, the term legal problems is often used to reference legal needs. Legal assistance Legal advice or representation from an attorney; advice from a legal hotline; or help not involving the practice of law from a paralegal, domestic violence advocate, courthouse facilitator, court clerk, law librarian or other non-attorney in obtaining legal information, completing legal forms, or receiving other services. Respondent Those persons who responded to the surveys and interviews administered as part of this study Federal Poverty Guidelines Federal Poverty Guidelines 3 Taken in part from Black s Law Dictionary, Eighth Edition 4 Rule 6.1: Voluntary Pro Bono Public Service, Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct 5 Black s Law Dictionary, Eighth Edition 6 Market Research Glossary of Terms 7 The Washington State Civil Legal Needs Study, Task Force on Civil Equal Justice Funding and Washington State Supreme Court, 2003
10 vi Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia
11 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia 1 Executive Summary In 2005, the Supreme Court of Georgia joined the growing list of states that have created a formal state entity dedicated to the mission of improving access to justice. The Supreme Court of Georgia Equal Justice Commission Committee on Civil Justice (hereinafter Committee ) was created by court order in 2005, began work in 2006, and was charged with the task of creating equal access to justice for all Georgians. The Committee s mission statement is to develop for implementation in Georgia a statewide, broad-based, publicly-known and supported, coordinated system for the poor which provides education, advice and tools to identify and address legal issues; ensures competent legal representation when appropriate; and promotes the efficient, effective and fair resolution of legal issues and disputes. In 2007, the Committee commissioned a comprehensive assessment of the civil legal needs of Georgia s low and moderate income population, as a starting point for its work to achieve its mission of assuring access to the civil justice system for all. The resulting 2007/2008 Georgia Legal Needs Study is the first to be conducted in the state since the 1994 study, Legal Needs Among Low- and Moderate-Income Households in Georgia 8, which was administered in conjunction with a national study conducted by the American Bar Association. The 1994 assessment showed that in any given year, 40 percent of Georgia s poverty population has at least one civil legal need. Based on 2000 Census figures, it was estimated that just over 400,000 members of Georgia s poverty population had at least one civil legal need during that year. The 2008 study, conducted under the auspices of the A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research at Kennesaw State University, updated and assessed the level of access to the civil justice system available today. The study is based on a series of surveys with low and moderate income Georgia households and individuals, court systems, and providers of legal services. The study excluded persons who were not citizens or legal residents of the state. The study included public telephone surveys of randomly selected low and moderate income households, in-person interviews, and focus groups with hard-to-reach client populations that might not be reached through a telephone survey. In addition, the study included a telephone survey of Georgia attorneys regarding their participation in providing legal services on pro bono basis, as well as web-based surveys and focus groups with court personnel and legal services providers. These surveys combined produced significant findings about the kinds and numbers of problems that present a legal need that are experienced by persons and households of limited means across the state. This report is a presentation of those findings and is intended to inform and provide guidance for the next steps toward providing better access to civil justice in Georgia. What are the needs of low and moderate income households in Georgia, and how are they addressed? More than 60% of low and moderate income households in Georgia experience one or more civil legal needs per year. Low income households (defined as up to $30,000 annual income for a four person household) experience an average of three civil legal needs annually, totaling over two million civil legal needs per year. Households in the moderate income category (defined as up to $60,000 annual income for a four person household) experience an 8 Legal Needs Among Low- and Moderate-Income Households in Georgia, Temple University Institute for Survey Research, June 1994.
12 2 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia average of 2.63 civil legal needs per year, for a total number of problems exceeding four million per year. While different surveys produced somewhat different rankings, the most prevalent needs involved the following problems:»» Consumer (e.g., abusive collection, oppressive contract terms, disputes over amount owed)»» Housing (e.g., utility issues, vermin, home and housing repairs, homelessness)»» Health (e.g., disputes with insurance company or provider over charges, refusal of provider to accept Medicaid, invasion of privacy issues, access to mental health services, denial of emergency care, and problems with nursing home)»» Employment (e.g., discrimination (based on disability, criminal record, race or age) unemployment benefits, wage claims)»» Public Benefits (e.g., difficulty in applying, denials)»» Education (e.g., school discipline, poor quality)»» Family (e.g., child support, domestic violence, visitation, custody) Respondents addressed their civil legal needs in a variety of ways and sometimes did nothing, even though the problems were perceived to be serious. About 75% of respondents who did not seek help said they did not realize that their problem could be remedied with legal assistance. This is a key reason for not seeking legal assistance. Others reported not knowing where they could go to seek legal assistance. In total, over ninety percent of respondents to the public telephone survey and personal interviews stated they did not obtain legal help for their problem. The ability to obtain legal assistance impacts the individual s opinion about how the problem is resolved through the justice system. Almost two-thirds of respondents who were able to obtain legal assistance were satisfied with the resolution of the problem. By contrast, over 60% of those respondents who were unable to obtain legal counsel and represented themselves (pro se) in court were dissatisfied with the result. What obstacles interfere with access to the justice system? Court personnel report that unrepresented or self-represented litigants impede the efficient operation of the court system. More than 95% of these respondents stated that a lack of understanding as to how the court process works represents an obstacle to the courts ability to administer justice for all. Additionally, over 90% of court personnel listed pro se expectations for assistance as an obstacle to smooth court operations. These problems are exacerbated by the reality that there is a limited amount of pro bono or low cost legal services available. (More than 88% of court personnel cited the lack of pro bono or low cost services as an obstacle.) The study shows that many low and moderate income Georgians are not sufficiently aware of available resources to help resolve one s legal needs. Among these resources are legal aid programs, mediation services, and small claims courts. While some courts and other entities are developing online resources aimed at litigants, these resources are not being used by most low and moderate income Georgia households. Although over two-thirds of households participating in the survey reported that they had access to the Internet, over 94% of all households reported that they have not used it to access legal forms.
13 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia 3 How are attorneys and legal services providers responding? Legal services programs charged with handling the legal needs of low income households are unable to meet that need fully due to inadequate resources, described in the survey variously as caseload/time constraints, lack of budgetary resources, lack of available attorneys, and lack of staff/personnel. The survey of attorneys who were self-identified as providing pro bono services provides some noteworthy findings about the engagement of the private bar in addressing low and moderate income needs. A higher percentage of attorneys in sole practice or small firms engage in pro bono representation than attorneys in larger firms. However, the attorneys in large firms who do provide pro bono services reported spending significantly more hours on these services than other attorneys. When asked why they provide pro bono representation, over 90% of the attorneys who reported that they do provide these services said it was important due to a sense of professional responsibility as well as their knowledge of the needs faced by low and moderate income clients. By contrast, those who did not report that they engage in pro bono work identified lack of time (almost 85%) and family obligations (over 70%) as the major discouraging factors behind their failure to provide these services. Another major problem for those attorneys who do not report that they engage in pro bono work is lack of expertise in relevant areas of law. It appears that many of these attorneys actually would provide the service if these problems can be overcome. The 2008 Georgia Legal Needs Study presents in-depth findings of the types and number of problems with legal dimensions experienced by low and moderate income Georgia households and what steps they take to address those needs. Further, the study examines the role played by the justice system, including the courts, private attorneys, and legal service providers, in responding to these needs. This study is the first step in achieving the vision of equal access to civil justice for all citizens of the State of Georgia.
14 4 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia
15 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia 5 Introduction In 2005, the Supreme Court of Georgia joined the growing list of states that have created a formal state entity dedicated to the mission of improving access to justice. The Supreme Court of Georgia Equal Justice Commission Committee on Civil Justice (hereinafter Committee ) was created by court order in 2005, began work in 2006, and was charged with the task of creating equal access to justice for all Georgians. The Committee s mission statement is to develop for implementation in Georgia a statewide, broad-based, publicly-known and supported, coordinated system for the poor which provides education, advice and tools to identify and address legal issues; ensures competent legal representation when appropriate; and promotes the efficient, effective and fair resolution of legal issues and disputes. In 2007, the Committee commissioned a comprehensive assessment of the civil legal needs of Georgia s low and moderate income population, as a method of meeting its mission of improving access to the civil justice system for all. The resulting 2007/2008 Georgia Legal Needs Study is the first to be conducted in the state since the 1994 study, Legal Needs Among Low- and Moderate-Income Households in Georgia 9, which was administered in conjunction with a national study conducted by the American Bar Association. The 1994 assessment showed that in any given year, 40 percent (40%) of Georgia s poverty population has at least one civil legal need. Based on 2000 Census figures, it was estimated that just over 400,000 members of Georgia s poverty population had at least one civil legal need during that year. Based on 2007 figures, the percentage of families in Georgia living below the poverty level (14.7%) is higher than that of the United States overall (13.3%) 10. Georgia ranks 13 th among the states for persons living in poverty, and remains below the national average in terms of per capita income. The percent of children in poverty in the state has remained fairly constant in the years at around 20%, which is higher than the national average of 18%. Approximately one in ten elderly residents of the state (over 65) live in poverty; 7.5% of all households have at least one elderly person. Women are more likely than men to live in poverty in Georgia (14.7% compared to 11.9%, respectively). African-Americans (25.3%) are more than twice as likely as white residents (10.5%) to live in poverty, as are Hispanic residents of any race (21.5%). A full third of all African-American households are below the poverty line. 11 This study produced noteworthy findings about the number of legal needs present among the populations of limited means across the state and the ability of those individuals to access the justice system. This report is a presentation of those findings, and is intended to inform and provide guidance for the next steps toward achieving better access to civil justice in Georgia. Georgia ranks 13th among the states for persons living in poverty, and remains below the national average in terms of per capita income. 9 Legal Needs Among Low- and Moderate-Income Households in Georgia, Temple University Institute for Survey Research, June The federal poverty definition consists of a series of thresholds based on family size and composition. In 2007, the poverty threshold for a family of two adults and two children was $20,650. Poverty status is not determined for people in military barracks, institutional quarters, or for unrelated individuals under age 18 (such as foster children). 11
16 6 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia
17 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia 7 Methodology The 2008 study, conducted under the auspices of the A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research at Kennesaw The study is based on a series of surveys with State University, assessed the level of access to the civil justice low and moderate income Georgia households system available today by asking respondents about their and individuals, court systems, and with experiences for calendar year The study is based on providers of legal services. a series of surveys with low and moderate income Georgia households and individuals, court systems, and with providers of legal services. The study excluded persons who were not citizens or legal residents of the state. The first and largest component of the study was a public telephone survey. A Random Digit Dial (RDD) survey was conducted from a highly representative sample 12 of low and moderate income households 13 about their civil legal needs in A total of 1027 low income and 516 moderate income households distributed randomly throughout the state completed the survey. The second component was a telephone survey conducted with private attorneys from around the state regarding participation in pro bono services. A third component was a web-based survey administered to legal service providers and court personnel. This web-based survey s target population was of individuals who work for legal aid, non-profit and social service organizations, and faith based groups, and the state s judicial system. Each group (judiciary and non-judiciary) received a survey tailored to the nature of its work. Fourth, in-person interviews were held with individuals selected based on their responses in the public telephone survey, and with persons defined as belonging to hard-to-reach client populations. The fifth component of the study consisted of eight focus groups held at different locations around the state: four with legal service providers and court personnel and four with members of the hard-to-reach client populations. The RDD survey took place from December 2007 through May Interviewers asked to speak with the adult family member who was most likely to know about family legal matters. The survey itself averaged 30 minutes in length. Respondents were asked a series of questions regarding their experiences, their living situations, the legal problems they may have had in the past year and how they had handled those problems. Caucasians constitute a majority of respondents, with African-Americans representing just over one-third of the total. Latinos just two percent of respondents are a distant third among ethnic groups. Close to 70 percent of respondents own or are buying a home, and nearly one-half are married. Most live in urban areas. With the exception of the youngest group surveyed (18-34 year olds), respondents are about evenly distributed across the other three age categories. In terms of employment situation, the largest number of respondents works full-time, with retirees constituting the next largest group. The great strength of the RDD study is that sampling is done in a random way from a known universe of possible subjects in this case, all households with telephones in the state. By calling enough subjects who have low or moderate incomes and complete the questionnaire, such a study produces results that are likely to be accurate when projected to the entire universe being sampled. In this way, it is possible to draw conclusions about the state as a whole that can be accepted with a high degree of confidence from observations about the survey respondents. 12 Samples for both the low and moderate-income households were drawn using random digit dialing (RDD) procedures. 13 A low income household is defined as one with a total income that does not exceed 150% of the Federal Poverty Level. In 2007, the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for a household of four in the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia was $20,650. For the purposes of this study, a low income household of four in 2007 would have an income of no more than $30,000 (approximately 150% of the 2007 FPL). A moderate income household is defined as one with an income between % of the Federal Poverty Level. For the purposes of this study, a moderate income household of four in 2007 would have an income of no more than $60,000 (approximately 300% of the 2007 FPL).
18 8 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia While conclusions about the entire sampling frame can be drawn with confidence, it must be remembered that the universe from which the sample is drawn households with a telephone is only an approximation of the universe that the study seeks to measure. A number of low and even moderate income households do not have telephones and would likely be excluded or underrepresented in the sample. Further, some households may have limitations of language or hearing that prevented them from participating in the survey. Finally, some kinds of sensitive legal problems are difficult, under the best of conditions, to discuss with strangers. A telephone survey is less amenable to building the personal trust and confidence to induce the survey respondent to speak freely about sensitive matters like elder abuse, immigration problems, or a wide range of family issues. The kinds of clients and needs that are likely to be missed in a telephone survey like the RDD survey are precisely The kinds of clients and needs that are likely those which are suspected to encounter the greatest barriers to be missed in a telephone survey like the to the justice system, and thus, are among the most important RDD survey are precisely those which are needs to be able to assess. In order to try to fill in some of suspected to encounter the greatest barriers the missing pieces of this puzzle, the Georgia Legal Needs to the justice system, and thus, are among Study also conducted in-person interviews with subjects who the most important needs to be able to were drawn from certain hard-to-reach clusters. These interviews used the same format as was employed in the RDD missing pieces of this puzzle, the Georgia assess. In order to try to fill in some of the interviews, but were conducted face-to-face, over a longer Legal Needs Study also conducted in-person time period, and under more relaxed circumstances. interviews with subjects who were drawn Interviewers were sent to locations across the state where from certain hard-to-reach clusters. they would encounter persons in targeted populations and incentives of $20 were offered to participants. A total of 204 field interviews were completed. Interviews followed the general format of the telephone surveys and most of the same questions were asked, although interviewees were permitted to respond about particular situations they had experienced related to their unique needs in more detail than was available within the format of the telephone survey. To the extent that some populations are excluded from the telephone sample, the characteristics of those groups will not likely be reflected in the data drawn from questioning the sample. The demographics of the hard-to-reach survey population are shown in Figure 1, representing some of the kinds of households that might be less likely to be found in the RDD survey Of course, these populations do not at all exhaust the groups that would be unlikely to participate in an RDD type study. Other demographic cluster groups that could be considered would include persons with mental disabilities, alienated youth, persons in institutions, immigrants and refugees, the developmentally disabled, survivors of domestic violence, migrant farm workers and others. Anecdotally, it is known that persons in these groups do have significant legal needs. Since these groups are unlikely to be in the RDD study and are not represented here, the Georgia Legal Needs Study does not measure their needs, and further research will be required to draw conclusions about legal needs of these populations.
19 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia 9 Figure 1: Demographics of Hard-to-reach Respondents 34.8% 28.4% 17.2% 16.7% 10.8% 5.9% Homeless Elderly Latino Non-English Speaker Recently Incarcerated Deaf The survey of attorneys was conducted in order to assess the motivations for engaging in pro bono work and to determine why some attorneys may not choose to undertake such work. The State Bar of Georgia provided a sample of attorneys who had answered on their State Bar dues notice that they had engaged in pro bono work in 2007, and a sample that The survey of attorneys was conducted did not report that they had engaged in pro bono work in in order to assess the motivations for The survey samples were not randomly selected from the general engaging in pro bono work and to bar membership, but surveys were conducted randomly within determine why some attorneys may not each group those who did report to engage in pro bono work choose to undertake such work. The and those who had not reported that they engaged in pro bono State Bar of Georgia provided a sample work. A quota sample of 100 attorneys who were engaged in pro of attorneys who had answered on their bono work in 2007 and 200 attorneys who did not report that State Bar dues notice that they had they had engaged in pro bono work was set. A total of 371 surveys engaged in pro bono work in 2007, and a were completed (including 221 attorneys who did not report that sample that did not report that they had they had engaged in pro bono work and 150 who did report that engaged in pro bono work in they engaged in pro bono work). 15 Information from court personnel was sought using a different methodology. This population was contacted by and asked to complete a web-based survey. Since the total number of potential respondents is not known, response rates cannot be calculated; however a high number (470) of respondents completed the survey. A web-based survey was also conducted with providers of a variety of types of legal services, such as housing assistance, family services, employment assistance and training and general civil legal aid. 15 Reliable statistics are unavailable as to the proportion of all Georgia attorneys who engage in pro bono, but based upon commentary from knowledgeable observers, it is likely that the survey over-sampled those involved in pro bono. Since the proportion of such individuals is not known, it was not possible to weight responses to account for this oversampling and any comparisons of lawyers across the two groups could not be reliably projected to the bar as a whole. However, due to the number surveyed in each group and the randomness of their selection within the group, conclusions drawn about the characteristics of each group should be highly reliable.
20 10 Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia Figure 2: Location of RDD Survey Respondents Dade Catoosa Fannin Towns Rabun Union Whitfield Murray Walker Gilmer White Habersham Moderate Income Respondents Lumpkin Stephens Gordon Chattooga Pickens Dawson Franklin Floyd Hall Banks Hart Cherokee Forsyth Bartow Jackson Madison Elbert Polk Cobb Barrow Gwinnett Clarke Paulding Oglethorpe Oconee Haralson Walton Lincoln Douglas DeKalb Wilkes Carroll Fulton Rockdale Morgan Greene Clayton Newton Taliaferro Columbia McDuffie Heard Coweta Fayette Henry Warren Richmond Jasper Spalding Butts Putnam Hancock Glascock Troup Meriwether Pike Lamar Baldwin Monroe Jones Washington Jefferson Burke Upson Bibb Wilkinson Jenkins Harris Screven Crawford Johnson Talbot Twiggs Emanuel Muscogee Peach Taylor Houston Bleckley Laurens Treutlen Candler Chattahoochee Bulloch Marion Macon Effingham Schley Pulaski Montgomery Dooly Dodge Toombs Evans Stewart Wheeler Webster Sumter Tattnall Bryan Wilcox Chatham Crisp Telfair Quitman Terrell Liberty Lee Jeff Davis Randolph Turner Ben Hill Appling Long Clay Calhoun Dougherty Early Baker Mitchell Miller Seminole Decatur Grady Low Income Respondents Worth Irwin Coffee Bacon Wayne Tift McIntosh Pierce Berrien Atkinson Colquitt Brantley Glynn Cook Lanier Ware Clinch Camden Thomas Brooks Charlton Lowndes Echols
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