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How should we deliver legal services to low-income clients in need? How should we allocate scarce legal resources among deserving clients? How can we increase access to justice more generally? As legal services lawyers and clinical law professors who have spent the bulk of our careers in neighborhood-based antipoverty programs, we grapple constantly with these individual, institutional, and systemic challenges. Legal needs in low-income communities far outstrip our ability to meet them, so we develop gatekeeping mechanisms to manage client demand and expectations. Among eligible clients, we face seemingly intractable choices about whom to serve and how much to serve them.2 While we struggle with individual delivery and programmatic allocation decisions, we also strive to expand access to justice systemically.
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