As previously reported, California recently enacted a pilot program that will provide lawyers for indigent clients in civil cases. See my posts on October 13 and October 27.
Here is a link to a podcast of a discussion on what some people are referring to now as the "civil Gideon" movement. The name comes from the Supreme Court's 1963 decision Gideon v. Wainwright which guaranteed that criminal defendants unable to afford their own lawyer would have one appointed at the public's expense. Should there be a corollary right in at least certain types of civil cases? Go here to listen to the discussion. Note that the first few seconds of the podcast are the end of a previous segment; keep listening for the beginning of the segment on "civil Gideon".
Thanks to the Media Law Blog for the information.