For Release Upon Receipt - October 20, 2011
Contact: Richard Taffe, 617-353-4626, email@example.com
ROBERT SPANGENBERG REJOINS BU LAW SCHOOL FACULTY
Indigent-aid champion has advised states, the federal government, and ABA for decades
(Boston) — Robert L. Spangenberg, a pioneering champion of legal rights for the poor and advisor to states and bar associations on the subject of legal aid for the indigent, is returning to the Boston University School of Law faculty after four successful decades of working to improve the access to quality of representation for those unable to afford counsel in civil or criminal cases.
Spangenberg, who earned business and law degrees from BU, as assistant dean at BU Law in mid ‘60s founded one of the nation’s first legal defense clinics as part of a law school curriculum and helped design and implement the first federal civil legal services program. Since then he has had celebrated career studying, evaluating, and helping legislatures improve legal services for the poor in all 50 states while assisting the Justice Department and advising developing nations on the subject.
“Boston University is honored to welcome back the nation’s preeminent leader of the legal aid reform movement who has helped change both laws and attitudes,” said BU Law Dean Maureen O’Rourke. “We look to perpetuate Bob Spangenberg’s passion for equal access to justice by continuing his work with governments and bar associations by engaging students from the Law School and across campus to join in his research projects.”
The Spangenberg Group, which Spangenberg created in 1985 to fill the void of analysis of the field of indigent defense and civil legal services, remains the only organization of its kind to provide technical service and evaluations of legal defense systems for the poor nationwide. It is the consulting firm to the American Bar Association program which provides technical help and advice to governments and state bar groups about improving such systems. Earlier, Spangenberg spent nine years with the social science research firm Abt Associates conducting national, state, and local studies relating to the improvement of indigent legal services.
Spangenberg launched his legal reform missionary career in the mid-1960s advising the LBJ administration on starting the Office of Legal Services under the newly created Office of Economic Opportunity. He then helped create and head what is now the Greater Boston Legal Services organization, taking a leave to serve in Washington, D.C., as special assistant to the first director of the National Legal Services Program. In 1975 the Boston Bar Association created the Action Plan for Legal Services, with Spangenberg as executive director, which did two years of research into unmet legal needs of the poor across Massachusetts. It lead to legislation enacted in 1983 creating the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Service, independent from the judiciary, to administer counsel for the poor. Spangenberg served on its board until 1995.
During his 26 years as president of the Spangenberg Group (http://bit.ly/piMBku), based in West Newton, Mass., Spangenberg has conducted research in all 50 states and dozens of developing nations, testified before legislative bodies, and served as an expert witness. His efforts have resulted in legislation overhauling indigent legal services delivery in numerous states and localities for which he has been honored by numerous state bar groups and legal associations, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA).
The BU School of Law, founded in 1872, ranked number one in teaching quality by Princeton Review and Leiter, and its tax, intellectual property, and health law programs are ranked in the top ten nationally by U.S. News & World Report.
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 30,000 students, it is the fourth largest independent university in the United States. BU contains 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school's research and teaching mission.
(Spangenberg Q&A in BU Today 10/20/11: http://bit.ly/q2AnZ9)
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