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The Right to Counsel and Civil Rights

An Opportunity to Broaden the Debate

By Wade Henderson & Jonathan M. Smith

A right to counsel in civil cases becomes both a legal aid and a civil rights issue where women and minorities are disproportionately represented in the poverty population. A civil right to counsel can meet all the problems of negative economic and social effects resulting from a lack of representation, institutional racism existing in legal processes, and a lack of attorneys to do impact litigation. This is why civil rights and legal aid advocates should work together toward a civil Gideon.

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