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ABF/JPB Access to Justice Scholars Programs Selects Six New Scholars for its 2023-24 Cohort

March 17, 2023, Press releases

The ABF/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Scholars Program is proud to announce the 2023-24 cohort of Faculty Scholars. From diverse backgrounds, each brings expertise to further the program’s core mission: generating impactful research on access to civil justice and translating this research into practice. 

Selected by an Advisory Committee from a highly qualified pool of applicants based on their diverse academic backgrounds and project proposals, the six scholars’ projects will produce both discoveries to inform social scientific understandings of access to civil justice and knowledge to inform real-world policy and reduce poverty and inequality in the United States and beyond. 

The Access to Justice Scholars Program promotes the next generation of scholars and supports the infrastructure of the burgeoning field of access to justice. It brings together scholars from across the country from many disciplines, including law, political science, public health, and sociology, to foster discoveries and build theoretical and empirical understanding of what is currently happening with access to civil justice. 

With funding from The JPB Foundation, the ABF supports these Faculty Scholars through mentorship, intellectual community, and funding. Their projects span an array of topics, including Puerto Rico’s Medicaid Program, legal service delivery in indigenous communities in the United States, how consumers engage with the civil legal system, unaccompanied children facing deportation in U.S. immigration courts, legal aid for eviction defense, and racial inequalities in driver’s license suspension. 

“America's access to justice crisis is decades old and, sadly, deepening,” said ABF Faculty Fellow and Access to Justice Scholars Program Director Rebecca Sandefur. “I'm thrilled to announce this year's new cohort of Scholars, whose insights and creativity bring new thinking to the program. Their projects engage new kinds of partnerships critical to giving people and communities effective tools to combat poverty and the power to use their own laws as members of our democracy.” 

Introducing the 2023-24 Access to Justice Scholars: 

Chiara Galli is a sociologist and Assistant Professor of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. Galli will examine access to legal representation and case outcomes for unaccompanied children facing deportation proceedings in U.S. immigration court. 

Claire Johnson Raba is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law. She will investigate consumer defendant engagement with the civil legal system and the impact of debt collection lawsuits on financial stability.

Kirsten Matoy Carlson is a Professor of Law at Wayne State University. She will investigate the gaps in existing measures of outcomes and impacts for legal services delivery in Native communities in the United States. 

Nylca J. Muñoz is an Adjunct Professor in the Health Law LLM Program at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico School of Law.  Her project will analyze the effectiveness of accountability mechanisms for underserved populations that are beneficiaries of the Medicaid Program in Puerto Rico as a first step in evaluating access to justice under the privatized health care model implemented in Puerto Rico in 1993. 

Neel U. Sukhatme is a Professor of Law and Anne Fleming Research Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, and Affiliated Faculty at the Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy. His project will analyze the results of an ongoing experiment providing legal aid to people faced with eviction. By comparing outcomes for people in treated versus comparable non-treated areas, the project provides a causal framework to test how legal aid might reduce evictions and their downstream consequences.  

Maureen Waller is a Professor in the Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy at Cornell University with a joint appointment in Sociology. She will conduct a mixed methods study to examine economic and racial disparities in driver’s license suspension in New York, the potential of different policy reform options for reducing these disparities, and people’s lived experience of having a suspended license. 

Learn more about the Access to Justice Scholars here.


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.

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