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Rebecca Sandefur Leads Access to Civil Justice Workshop

January 1, 2013, ABF news

A two-day workshop entitled Access to Civil Justice: Re-Envisioning and Reinvigorating Research took place at the American Bar Foundation on December 7-8, 2012.  With sponsorship from the National Science Foundation, ABF Faculty Fellow Rebecca Sandefur convened several events to identify key unanswered questions in access to justice that are central to both scholarship and practice, and to open a conversation that may lead to partnerships on specific research projects and to the beginnings of a durable, national Access to Justice research program.

The workshop opened with a poster session and town hall meeting on the afternoon of Friday, December 7. This public session, held in conjunction with the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) annual meetings, brought together scholars and practitioners from many perspectives to identify and explore access to civil justice research needs.  25 posters were displayed, followed by a lively town hall-style discussion during which about 100 legal aid and research professionals articulated how researchers and field practitioners can best work together to expand access to justice.

On Saturday, December 8, a core group of 43 researchers and legal aid practitioners met to advance the work of revitalizing access to justice research. Participants divided into smaller working groups to:

  • Identify the most important research questions, research needs, and/or knowledge gaps that exist today in access to justice research, services delivery, administration, and/or policy
  • Discuss concrete research projects, including data sources, sites/partnerships, methods, and funding.

The working groups then reported their findings back to the larger group and discussed possible models for building a sustainable access to justice research program. A research agenda resulting from this workshop will be made available in the coming month.

Click here to view more information on the access to justice research being sponsored by the American Bar Foundation. To view a photo gallery of the Saturday, December 8 session, please click here.

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