The Catholic University of America

BLSA Hosts Access to Justice Event

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On November 6, 2018, the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) hosted a panel discussion on Access to Justice. Vice President of BLSA Nnecka Maceo (2L) provided welcoming remarks. “There is a broad consensus that access to justice is a good thing and that we need more of it, but there may be less consensus and clarity over what the term actually means,” Maceo said.

President of BLSA Onyinyechi Onungwa (3L) introduced the panelists. Panelists included: Darrell Doss, Legislative Director for Congressman Dwight Evan (PA); Christopher Netram '03, Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy of the National Association of Manufacturers; and Koria Stanton '14, Attorney Advisor for the Board of Veterans Appeals. 

From L to R: Nnecka Maceo, Onyinyechi Onungwa, Darrell Doss, Koria Stanton,
Christopher Netram, Ashnelly Rodriguez, and Nastashia Matos

Panelists spoke about what access to justice means to them in their line of work.

“One of the big challenges in the tax field is making sure laws apply fairly and equally to all Americans. Access to justice means fairness and impartiality,” Netram said.

“Access to justice means giving veterans equal opportunities to succeed and providing them benefits they request without being bias,” Stanton said.

“Access to justice is election protection. This is something that is critical to the legislative branch, and this is done in the House of Representatives through the Committee on House Administration,” Doss said.

Panelists also spoke about relevant access to justice issues in their practices areas and the mechanisms or tools in place to safeguard equal justice for clients or constituents.

Doss spoke about the need for access to mental health counseling for individuals in the criminal justice system. Panelists also discussed proposed legislation regarding universal basic income and voluntary tax assistance programs.

Following the panel, students had a chance to ask the panelists questions. Students were also invited to a networking reception with panelists after the conclusion of the event.