Document Type


Publication Title

American Constitution Society

Publication Date




Page Number



legal aid, right to counsel, poverty law


Law | Legal Remedies


Energized by the fiftieth anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, and in light of the nearly one million low-income Americans who are denied legal aid services each year, renewed calls to expand the right to counsel to civil litigants have emerged. Lucas explains that there are “numerous ways in which Gideon’s promise has fallen short” in the criminal realm and, as a result, there is little consensus about how to proceed in the civil context. The Issue Brief explores the range of ideas in the “civil Gideon” debate and examines why the values underlying the right to counsel are critical but the appointment of counsel may not always be the best solution.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.