"Equal justice does not mean justice for the rich, for the powerful, for the privileged. . . . It means justice for everyone that lives in this country."
-Stephen N. Zack, immediate past president of the American Bar Association and administrative partner at Boies, Schiller and Flexner LLP, during his commencement address at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa May 12.
Zack discussed the current state court funding crisis--which plagues 42 states across the country, including California. The state budget Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled days after Zack's local remarks proposed another $544 million in cuts to a state judicial budget that has already been trimmed by $653 million since 2008.
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"In California you have one of the most difficult situations," Zack said. ". . . The courts in the United States are closing down, and as important as our legal profession is, it cannot operate without a functioning court system."
He called on graduates to become great lawyers by making a difference now, despite the underfunding of state courts.
"We all need our court system sooner or later," Zack said, "but it won't be there unless you and your generation of lawyers fight to keep our courts open."