The American Bar Foundation’s (ABF) Access to Justice Research Initiative, in partnership with Arizona State University (ASU), the Vanderbilt Access to Justice Initiative, and the Initiative for Inclusive Civil Justice at the University of California, Irvine Law School, has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to foster collaboration between civil justice researchers and federal agencies. Working closely with the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Access to Justice, these engagements will culminate in a workshop that will, for the first time, convene empirical researchers working on a range of civil justice issues with federal policymakers across multiple federal agencies participating in the Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (LAIR).
The Access to Justice Research Initiative is the ABF’s hub for innovative empirical research and programs that bridge the divide between access to civil justice scholarship and practice in the United States and around the world. Led by Rebecca Sandefur, ABF Faculty Fellow and Professor and Director of the Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at ASU, and Matthew Burnett, Senior Program Officer, the Initiative has collaborated with a range of partners to produce original research and scholarship and serve as a resource for civil justice researchers, policymakers, and programs as they seek to respond to the legal needs of the public today.
The workshop will be hosted by ASU’s Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center in Washington, D.C. in early 2024 and led by Principal Investigator Rebecca Sandefur, alongside co-Principal Investigators Matthew Burnett, Lauren Sudeall, Professor at Vanderbilt Law and Director of the Vanderbilt Access to Justice Initiative, and Emily Taylor Poppe, Professor and Director of the Initiative for Inclusive Civil Justice at UC Irvine Law School.
“Increasingly, civil justice is being recognized as a critical tool for advancing federal policy priorities,” said Rebecca Sandefur. “This workshop is a tremendous opportunity to build a space where researchers and federal agencies can collaborate to identify core research needs and strategies for resourcing those needs.”
This workshop will connect researchers investigating the role of access to justice in achieving goals in critical policy areas with federal agency actors who can use that knowledge to inform funding priorities and programming. It will aim to increase transparency around existing government data, increase utilization of government data by academic researchers, prioritize shared policy goals and connect federal actors to more robust and collaborative research agendas and build an active and engaged community of research and practice.
“The American Bar Foundation’s Access to Justice Research Initiative is thrilled to partner with other leading centers for access to justice research on this critical work bringing researchers into conversation with federal policymakers to both prioritize research needs and reinforce evidence-based civil justice policy,” said the ABF’s Matthew Burnett.
About the American Bar Foundation
The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is the world’s leading research institute for the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law. The ABF seeks to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions. To further this mission the ABF will produce timely, cutting-edge research of the highest quality to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally. The ABF’s primary funding is provided by the American Bar Endowment and the Fellows of The American Bar Foundation.