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The Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy

About the Conference

Access To Justice

Opportunities & Challenges in Access to Justice:
Lessons from the U.S. and Brazil

November 15, 2018

12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Boston College Law School,
Stuart 402


Brazil and the U.S. both seek to increase access to justice. Each country has sought innovations in achieving this goal in a variety of ways, including free legal representation, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, regulatory approaches, procedural tools, court reforms, technological tools. Brazil has tended to focus especially on free representation, while the U.S. has focused more on alternate mechanisms of promoting justice. This event will bring together experts from each country who will compare the U.S. and Brazilian experiences, including the respective costs and benefits in each system, so as to learn from, evaluate, and propose improvements to access to justice.


  • Kazuo Watanabe, Professor of Civil Procedural Law, University of São Paulo; retired Judge, Court of Justice of the State of Sāo Paulo; partner, Trench Rossi Watanabe
  • Christine Santini, Judge, Court of Justice of the State of São Paulo
  • Marcus V.K. Onodera, Judge, Court of Justice of the State of Sāo Paulo
  • Samuel Brasil, Associate Justice, Espirito Santo State Supreme Court
  • Justice Robert Cordy, Rappaport Distinguished Visiting Professor
  • Susan M. Finegan, Esq., Co-Chair, Access to Justice Commission; Chair, Pro Bono Committee, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo, PC
  • Renee L. Danser, Esq., Associate Director of Research and Strategic Partnerships, Access to Justice Lab, Harvard Law School
  • Professor Claire Donohue, JD, MSW, BC Law
  • Russell Engler, Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Programs, New England Law Boston



12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. Panel 1: Benefits and Challenges of Government-paid Civil Representation. Learn about Brazil’s experience and U.S. proposals. Lunch will be served.

  • Judge Christine Santini
  • Russel Engler
  • Moderator: Susan M. Finegan

1:30p.m.-3:30 p.m. Panel 2: Thinking Innovatively about A2J (pro bono and reduced-price representation, ADR, A2J Commissions, Consumer Law/Consumer Regulation, AI and technology, alternate means of providing service (expanded paralegal and self-help services, etc.))

  • Judge Kazuo Watanabe
  • Judge Marcus Onodera
  • Justice Robert Cordy
  • Susan M. Finegan
  • Prof. Claire Donohue
  • Renee Danser
  • Justice Samuel Brasil
3:30 p.m. Reception