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THE RENAMED 'POSNER CENTER OF JUSTICE for Pro Ses is Open for Business

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April 15th 2018

Contact Person:

Richard A. Posner

President, The Posner Center of Justice for Pro Se’s

Tel.: 773-702-9608



The Renamed “Posner Center of Justice for Pro Se’s” is Open for Business


CHICAGO, Illinois —Richard A. Posner has announced the renaming of his nationwide pro bono legal-services organization for assisting pro se litigants. Formerly named “Justice for Pro Se’s,” and before that “Team Posner,” it now goes by the name “The Posner Center of Justice for Pro Se’s.”


On September 2, 2017, Judge Posner retired after almost 36 years as a judge of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (including 7 years as its chief judge) because, as he says: “I believed, and still believe, that pro se’s, which is to say litigants without lawyers, are not receiving a fair shake from the courts.” Actually, it is even worse than that, as Judge Posner further explains: “Many judges are hostile to pro se’s, seeing them as a kind of ‘trash’ not even worth the courts’ time.”


Ever the prolific writer, since his retirement Judge Posner has published four books explaining the pro se's need for legal assistance and setting out the framework for a legal-services organization that would provide that assistance free of charge. He then created what is now called the Posner Center of Justice for Pro Se’s, a nationwide organization of lawyers and non-lawyers who assist deserving pro se litigants free of charge with their cases. The Center now has some 80 lawyers and non-lawyer advisors distributed across 27 states, but expects eventually to have representatives in all 50 states plus the nation’s offshore possessions, such as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


Although individuals have been representing themselves in court since the beginning of the Republic, it is only recently that the courts and the bar associations have begun to make accommodations for them—a trend that the Posner Center of Justice for Pro Se’s is building upon. As Judge Posner points out: “The need of pro se litigants for legal assistance is obvious. Few people can afford to pay an attorney for the years that a lawsuit often takes to get resolved. Also, the U.S. legal system is so complicated and confusing that no layperson can successfully get through its maze unaided by expert legal assistance.”


A unique aspect of the Center is that while its lawyers will sometimes take over the pro se’s cases and represent the pro se’s in court, equally or even more often it will assist the pro se’s behind the scenes to enable them to successfully represent themselves—to be in effect their own courtroom lawyers. For, as Judge Posner has explained, “Representing oneself in court is often the best way for a pro se to obtain justice. Unlike judges, juries tend to be impressed by a lone litigant standing up against a gaggle of lawyers.”


At present none of the Center’s representatives is paid (although that may change). But not for Judge Posner, who has announced “This work is a labor of love and I will not accept even a single penny for my work on behalf of pro se’s.”


A few of the legal luminaries from academia who have joined the Center are law professors Lawrence Lessig (Harvard), Abbe Gluck (Yale), Rebecca Stone (UCLA), Daniel Klerman (USC), Shon Hopwood (Georgetown), Sandra Aistars (George Mason University), Christopher Ogolla (Savannah Law School), as well as Eric Posner, Alison Siegler, Thomas Miles, Joshua Avratin, David Zarfes, and William Landes (all from the University of Chicago).


Although the Posner Center (which dates back to September 2017 though it has evolved over time) has already helped many pro se’s, as Judge Posner notes, “We are just touching the surface, for there are reliably believed to be at least a million pro se’s in the United States. Many of those pro se’s, however, don’t realize they can obtain legal assistance. Therefore, I will continue to work to get the message out that our organization exists, and then try to assist as many deserving pro se's as possible.