Chief Justice and Incoming Bar President Discuss Access to Justice

During the 2010 annual meeting of the Arkansas Bar Association, Chief Justice Jim Hannah and incoming Arkansas Bar Association President Jim Julian urged Arkansas lawyers to fulfill their obligations under Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.  These obligations include handling 50 hours of pro bono work each year and contributing financial support to legal aid programs in Arkansas.

“We as an association must take the lead in addressing this challenge,” said Mr. Julian.  “We must assure that those in need can have access to justice in Arkansas.  We can do that by supporting the work of the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission.”

Below, we have posted videos of the portions of Chief Justice Hannah’s and Mr. Julian’s speeches in which they discuss the status of access to justice efforts in Arkansas.  The Access to Justice Commission is extremely grateful to Chief Justice Hannah and Mr. Julian for their leadership in addressing the justice gap in Arkansas.

Chief Justice Jim Hannah

“Contrary to the fear and concern expressed by a few, this work [access to justice] is not about encouraging or enabling members of the public who could otherwise secure the paid services of an attorney to represent them.  Rather it seeks to make available an array of tools and programs which better enable our citizens to access the legal advice and services they need.”

Arkansas Bar President Jim Julian

“You have heard two or three times at this bar association meeting about our obligations under the model rules of professional conduct: 50 hours of pro bono service per year.  If we all made that commitment, access to justice would not be the concern that it presently is.  As individuals and collectively, we can make a difference in the lives of so many people who are in need.  Donate your time; donate your talents.  Make a difference in this area.”

Commissioner Awarded 2010 Equal Justice Distinguished Service Award

The Arkansas Bar Foundation presented Commissioner Annabelle C. Imber Tuck, former justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, with its 2010 “Equal Justice Distinguished Service Award.”  The Foundation presented the award on June 10, 2010, during the Arkansas Bar Association’s annual meeting.

Ann Pyle, executive director of the Arkansas Bar Foundation, prepared the following remarks in honor of Justice Imber Tuck:

A statewide award was developed to recognize commitment to and participation in equal justice programs for the poor, including pro bono efforts through legal services programs.   The Equal Justice Distinguished Service Award is given this year to Justice Annabelle C. Imber Tuck.

In addition to leading an illustrious career as a lawyer, judge, and ultimately Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, she has been a tireless advocate for access to justice efforts in Arkansas.  Since 1977, she has dedicated her professional career to fostering equal access to justice for those without the resources to afford legal representation.

Justice Tuck is a member of the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission, serving in this capacity since October of 2005.  She regularly speaks to attorneys and judges throughout the state about the importance of pro bono work.  She currently chairs the Commission’s Education Committee and led the planning of the Commission’s first statewide “Promise of Justice Conference.”  Justice Tuck played an integral role in the completion of the Commission’s DVD entitled “Forging the Road to Civil Justice.”  In addition, she presented the Commission’s proposal to the Supreme Court to allow members of the Commission to establish the Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation, Inc.

No words could better summarize Justice Tuck’s commitment to equal justice than this statement from her nominator:  “She has worked diligently to raise the awareness among attorneys and judges about the need for legal aid and about each attorney’s ethical obligation to perform pro bono services….These accomplishments demonstrate Justice Tuck’s ongoing commitment to improving access to our state’s legal system for low-income Arkansans.”

It gives me great pleasure to present this year’s Equal Justice Distinguished Service Award to Justice Annabelle Imber Tuck.