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Research

The American Bar Foundation’s mission is to serve the legal profession, the public, and the academy through empirical research, publications, and programs that advance justice and the understanding of law and its impact on society. Primary funding for the ABF is provided by the American Bar Endowment.

The Foundation is committed to broad dissemination of research findings to the organized bar, scholars, and the general public. The results are published in a wide range of forums, including leading academic journals, law reviews, and academic and commercial presses.

Our research program is implemented through the projects designed and conducted by the resident research faculty. A research project is undertaken only after completion of a very extensive review process, including review by the external review body, The Wheeler Committee, and by the ABF Board of Directors.


Only the Clothes on Her Back

Mar 28, 2017, Laura F. Edwards
Only the Clothes on Her Back shifts the analytical frame from property the minority owned to property the majority possessed, a shift that changes our understandings of Americans' relationship to the…

After the JD

Mar 28, 2017, Bryant G. Garth, Robert L. Nelson, Ronit Dinovitzer, Gabriele Plickert , Joyce Sterling
Funders Access Group, Inc. American Bar Foundation Law School Admission Council NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education NALP

Cause Lawyering in Context

Mar 28, 2017, Laura Beth Nielsen, Catherine Albiston
The Constraints and Opportunities of Practicing Public Law in Public Interest Law firms will provide an unprecedented, empirical portrait of a national sample of the public interest bar.

World Justice Project

Mar 28, 2017, James J. Heckman, Robert L. Nelson
The World Justice Project (WJP) is a multinational, multidisciplinary initiative to strengthen the rule of law worldwide. It is building a broad and diverse constituency that will advance the rule of…

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Current projects

  • Civil justice
  • Criminal justice
  • Law and globalization
  • Legal history
  • Legal profession
  • Regulation
  • Social justice

Browse our current projects »

Access to Justice

Through a series of innovative empirical research projects, Access to Justice investigates Americans’ experiences with their civil justice problems and the institutions of remedy that exist to serve them. The goal is to produce new knowledge essential for policy makers and service providers as they seek to respond to the legal needs of the public today.

More about Access to Justice »

The Research Group on Legal Diversity

The American Bar Foundation is committed to expanding equity and opportunity within the legal profession and in society at large. The ABF’s Research Group on Legal Diversity lays the groundwork for a larger research program that we will undertake to further our committment to diversity.

More about the Research Group on Legal Diversity  »

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Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in ABF publications are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Bar Foundation or the American Bar Association. The AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION, ABF and related seal trademarks as used by the American Bar Foundation are owned by the American Bar Association and used under license.