“Reginald Heber Smith and Justice and the Poor in the 21st Century”, available online, was published in the Campbell Law Review. It revisits Justice and the Poor, a 1919 book by Reginald Heber Smith that has had tremendous impact on the legal profession and is credited with the expansion of legal aid in the twentieth century. DiPippa’s article considers what progress has been made toward its vision of legal justice.
“Smith called out the legal profession at the beginning of the 20th century for failing to make access to the legal system a reality for millions of Americans who could not afford lawyers. Sadly, we are no closer to providing equal justice under the law to people without means than we were in 1919,” DiPippa said. “In many ways, we are moving toward a more unequal system than the one Smith critiqued.”
“Peter Singer, Drowning Children, and Pro Bono,” is available online and was published in the West Virginia Law Review. It uses ethicist Peter Singer’s thought experiment about rescuing a drowning child to critique the legal profession’s pro bono efforts in the face of the persistent gap between the public’s legal needs and their ability to meet them.
“The article argues that lawyers are morally obligated to increase their pro bono efforts and suggests changes to current structures, including mandatory pro bono work, a sharper focus on areas of actual need, and increased donations from highly profitable law firms to effective legal services organization,” DiPippa said.
He argues that profitable law firms should focus their pro bono efforts on cases that promise to provide the greatest relief for the greatest number of people without means and away from higher-profile but lower need areas.
In addition, DiPippa urges profitable law firms to dramatically increase their financial support of effective legal services organizations. “If only the largest law firms in the country did so, their contributions would exceed the current federal allocation for legal services programs across the country,” DiPippa said.
DiPippa is an inaugural faculty member at the Clinton School where he teaches The Foundations of Public Service and Ethical and Legal Dimensions of Public Service courses.
He is also dean emeritus and distinguished professor of law and public policy at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law where he teaches Constitutional Law, Legal Ethics, and Freedom of Speech and Religion.
DiPippa received his bachelor’s degree from West Chester University, and his juris doctor’s degree from Washington & Lee University. DiPippa was a Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellow upon his graduation from law school. While at Bowen, he has published in the areas of legal ethics, Constitutional law, and access to justice.