ABA Impact Report details 2023 achievements

The recently released ABA Impact Report, compiled by the Rule of Law Initiative and Center for Public Interest Law, describes a wide range of tangible ways the ABA has helped its members use the power of law to advance the legal profession’s pursuit for justice in the United States and throughout the world.

The report details ABA work to protect civil rights and liberties; expand access to justice for underserved and disadvantaged communities; promote diversity, inclusion and equity in the legal field and justice system; advocate for human rights defenders; strengthen legal systems across the globe; and promote the rule of law.

“The 2023 ABA Impact Report underscores our unwavering commitment to justice and equity across a wide spectrum of issues,” said ABA President Mary Smith. “It showcases the depth and breadth of the ABA — from championing the rule of law to empowering the underserved and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. This report illuminates the extensive reach and positive impact of our work, both domestically and internationally, as we stand united in our efforts to uphold democracy and advance the rule of law.”

Among the achievements detailed in the report are:

• The ABA’s advocacy for robust funding for the Legal Services Corporation helped the organization receive a $71 million increase over 2022 to $560 million.

• In Ukraine, the ABA Center for Human Rights published a report focusing on three practices employed as part of Russia’s filtration of Ukrainian civilians: detention, torture and forced relocation.

• The ABA Criminal Justice Section’s Plea Bargain Task Force released a report highlighting key findings about the current use of plea bargains summarized in 14 principles meant to guide plea practices in the future.

• The ABA Commission on Immigration developed multiple creative models to increase  pro bono service delivery, including: Pro Se+ Asylum Representation (in partnership with HIAS); Pro Se Asylum Representation Series; Afghan Re-Parole Clinic; and the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Clinic.

• For the past 12 years, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative has provided legal scholarships to women at universities in the Demo­c­ratic Republic of the Congo and has helped 72 women become lawyers there.

• In response to a disturbing trend in the inappropriate use of adult guardianship, the ABA Com­mis­sion on Law and Aging published Defense Against Guardianship: A Lawyer’s Guide to Representing Individuals in Guardianship Cases, the first comprehensive guide to developing and presenting a case to avoid guardianship or to advocate for the modification or termination of a guardianship.

ABA Free Legal Answers, the first and only online national pro bono legal advice portal, has responded to more than 330,000 civil legal questions from persons in 43 participating jurisdictions unable to otherwise get help with their legal problems from other resources. Additionally, people may now get responses to questions about two federal areas of law, immigration and veterans’ benefits.