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Champions of Change: Access to Justice Initiative

Millions of people in the United States cannot get legal help that is often critical to their wellbeing and freedom, but these Champions of Change are assisting people in need by dedicating their professional lives to closing the justice gap in America.
Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.

The U.S. Department of Justice Access to Justice Initiative was honored to join with the White House Office of Public Engagement on October 13, 2011 in co-sponsoring President Obama’s Champions of Change event, to celebrate the 16 courageous and creative advocates who dedicate their lives to closing the justice gap in America. 

We’re overwhelmed by grateful messages for the inspiration the Champions provided to the public-spirited law students at 118 law schools in 42 states and the District of Columbia who watched the event via live-feed.  And we want to thank the deans, professors, public interest student leaders, and Pro Bono Directors who emceed these watching events in law school classrooms and moot courtrooms across the country.  We aim to continue this historic national conversation among the Champions, law students and faculty, public service lawyers, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Access to Justice Initiative, and invite you to join in.   We’re hoping the discussion will reverberate and expand.

You might start by watching the video version of the October 13 event,  and then reading the Champions’ inspirational stories, posted at  We also hope you will read about what law schools are doing to expand access to justice for low-income communities and motivate students to add their talents to the effort to secure basic rights for all Americans.  Over the next two weeks, we will roll out on the White House Blog postings from the 118 participating schools that describe what they do to support a public service ethic in every student, and any new public service opportunities created for this academic year. 

Please join the White House and Department of Justice in thanking the 16 individuals listed below for being Champions of Change in their communities, and the impressive list of law schools that hosted watching events on October 13, 2011.

Mark B. Childress is Senior Counselor for the U.S. Department of Justice Access to Justice Initiative.