Rebooting Justice: More Technology, Fewer Lawyers, and the Future of Law (Hardcover)
America is a nation founded on justice and the rule of law. But our laws are too complex, and legal advice too expensive, for poor and even middle-class Americans to get help and vindicate their rights. Criminal defendants facing jail time may receive an appointed lawyer who is juggling hundreds of cases and immediately urges them to plead guilty. Civil litigants are even worse off; usually, they get no help at all navigating the maze of technical procedures and rules. The same is true of those seeking legal advice, like planning a will or negotiating an employment contract. Rebooting Justice presents a novel response to longstanding problems. The answer is to use technology and procedural innovation to simplify and change the process itself. In the civil and criminal courts where ordinary Americans appear the most, we should streamline complex procedures and assume that parties will not have a lawyer, rather than the other way around. We need a cheaper, simpler, faster justice system to control costs. We cannot untie the Gordian knot by adding more strands of rope; we need to cut it, to simplify it.
Benjamin H. Barton is the Helen and Charles Lockett Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee. His scholarship has been discussed or reviewed in Time Magazine, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Washington Examiner, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The ABA Journal. Barton also worked as a clinical professor of law for thirteen years representing indigent clients in criminal and civil courts. Stephanos Bibas is a Professor of Law and Criminology and the Director of the Supreme Court Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a founding faculty member of the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice, which seeks to study and fix flaws in the criminal justice system that cause innocent defendants to be wrongfully convicted. A graduate of Columbia, Oxford, and Yale Law School, he clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. As a federal prosecutor in New York City, he successfully investigated, prosecuted, and convicted the world's leading expert in Tiffany stained glass, who had hired a grave robber to steal priceless Tiffany stained-glass windows from tombs in cemeteries. Winner of the Best Speaker award at the World Debate Championships, Bibas has argued six cases before the United States Supreme Court and been cited by that Court six times. He is an internationally recognized expert on criminal procedure and has lectured on and debated these issues across the country. His critically acclaimed yet lucidly written book, The Machinery of Criminal Justice, was published by Oxford University Press in 2012, excerpted serially at The Volokh Conspiracy and Sentencing Law and Policy blogs, and featured on C-SPAN's Book TV. He has been interviewed and quoted by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, and many other media outlets.