Today Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack spoke to us about access to justice.
According to the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index, the U.S. ranks 46th out of the 46 most wealthy nations in access and affordability of civil justice.  The access to justice crisis is not about access to lawyers.  Instead the focus is on a social goal--just and consistent resolutions to problems that are important to people.  This means widening the set of routes to the resolution of problems--as has happened in the medical world.
Why haven't we updated our justice system?  Chief Justice McCormack says"Culture eats Strategy for lunch."  In Michigan there have been targeted efforts to tackle a huge problem: About two million Michigan residents qualify for free legal aid, but there is only one legal aid lawyer for every 10,000 eligible.  And Michigan's courts are decentralized.  Nevertheless, has been a national leader in providing legal self-help resources to residents.
Chief Justice McCormack describes COVID-19 as"the disruption we needed." Innovation flourished, and remote proceedings have kept the judiciary running.  Nearly 1,000 court officers have participated in more than 5.7.million hours of remote hearings.
In Michigan a Justice for All Commission has been established to pursue a Justice for All Strategic Plan.  Among other things the plan seeks to improve the navigability of the court system.  Michigan is the first state with Online Dispute Resolution available statewide.  Despite the progress that has been made, Michigan still needs an updated state-wide court management system.