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The ABF Receives Grant from The JPB Foundation to Establish New Access to Justice Scholars Program

November 7, 2019, Press releases

CHICAGO, Nov. 7, 2019 – The American Bar Foundation (ABF) has been awarded a multi-year grant from The JPB Foundation, a private foundation that aims to advance opportunity in the United States through transformational initiatives. The grant will support the establishment of a brand-new access to justice program at the ABF.

The ABF’s new program, The ABF/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Scholars Program, will help to build the field of access to justice research in the United States. The Director of the program will be ABF Faculty Fellow and Arizona State University Professor Rebecca Sandefur, who received a MacArthur “Genius” grant in 2018 for her access to justice work. 

With this new program, the ABF aims to promote the next generation of access to justice scholars and to support the infrastructure of the burgeoning field of access to justice. The program will bring together cohorts of faculty scholars and a postdoctoral scholar to support research, mentor progress, and build intellectual relationships. By facilitating the translation of research into practice, the program will endeavor to generate more effective approaches to access to justice that combat poverty and improve justice for all. 

“Access to justice research in the United States is at a key juncture,” says Professor Sandefur. “This new program helps ensure its continued vitality and development in sophistication and impact. The Scholars will be the next generation of access to justice researchers, whose work will enrich their intellectual disciplines and change the way we solve legal problems, practice law, and find justice.”

Since the ABF’s founding in 1952, scholars at the Foundation have been deeply engaged with the fundamental questions of access to justice. In the nine years since Sandefur founded the ABF’s Access to Justice Research Initiative, the ABF has produced pioneering studies revealing that people seldom recognize the legal aspects of their civil justice problems and demonstrating that fully qualified lawyers are not always necessary for providing quality assistance with civil justice problems.

“We are delighted and grateful to receive this generous grant from The JPB Foundation,” said ABF Executive Director Ajay K. Mehrotra. “The grant will enrich the ABF’s access to justice program and continue our long-standing tradition of fostering the next generation of innovative and influential scholars.”

Faculty and postdoctoral scholars studying access to justice will be invited to apply for this program. Scholars will have the opportunity to conduct their research in an empirical and interdisciplinary environment and benefit from the ABF’s academic and administrative resources. They will also benefit from the mentorship of an experienced senior scholar in the field.

Learn more about The ABF/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Scholars program.

To apply for the faculty scholar role, visit:  

To apply for the postdoc scholar role, visit:  


About the American Bar Foundation

The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is among the world’s leading research institutes 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.

About The JPB Foundation

The JPB Foundation is a private foundation whose mission is to advance opportunity in the United States through transformational initiatives that empower those living in poverty, enrich and sustain our environment, and enable pioneering medical research.  

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Posted by Whitney Peterson 

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