Skip to main content

The American Bar Foundation Announces 2020-21 Access to Justice Faculty Scholars

April 13, 2020, Press releases

CHICAGO, April 13, 2020 – The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is pleased to announce the 2020-21 cohort of ABF/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Faculty Scholars. The six faculty scholars come from diverse academic backgrounds and focus on research that advances access to justice across the United States.

The ABF/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Scholars Program aims to promote the next generation of scholars and to support the infrastructure of the burgeoning field of access to justice. The program brings together cohorts of faculty scholars 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. 

This year’s class features six scholars who were selected by an Advisory Council from a highly selective pool of applicants. They each bring a wide range of tools to bear on the program’s core mission. The scholars will work on research projects, including: understanding how people seek legal help on the internet, examining how automated systems will impact access to justice, exploring legal services for medically complex children and their parents, and investigating who immigration lawyers are and how it impacts removal proceedings.

We are excited to welcome this year’s cohort of scholars,” said program director Rebecca Sandefur, an ABF Faculty Fellow and Arizona State University Professor. “At a critical time for access to justice in this country, these scholars will enrich their intellectual disciplines and change the way we solve legal problems, practice law, and find justice.”

The 2020-21 Access to Justice Scholars:

Margaret Hagan (Director of the Legal Design Lab, Stanford University) will seek to understand more about how people seek legal help on the internet, and what kinds of strategies can most effectively engage them with public legal help.

Rebecca Johnson (incoming Assistant Professor in Quantitative Social Science, Dartmouth College) will investigate how school districts grapple with ethical dilemmas about whom to help as they navigate legal mandates that conflict with fiscal realities.

Sarah Lageson (Assistant Professor at Rutgers University-Newark School of Criminal Justice) will examine how automated systems will change our understandings of access to justice, the perpetuation of bias and inequality, and effective legal outcomes.

Erin Paquette (Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine) will describe legal issues in a group of medically complex children who were referred for legal services, explore parent experiences with the medical-legal partnership and evaluate health outcomes associated with referral to a medical-legal partnership.

Emily Ryo (Professor of Law and Sociology, USC Gould School of Law) will advance a comprehensive understanding of who immigration lawyers are and the contingent nature of their impact on removal proceedings. 

Kathryne M. Young (Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst) will investigate everyday people’s legal consciousness—their beliefs and understandings of the law—around seven key civil justice problems.

Learn more about the Access to Justice Scholars and their projects. 

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.  


« Return to Press releases

Site design by Webitects

© 2023 American Bar Foundation (
750 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611-4403
(312) 988-6500
Contact Us
Contact the Fellows
Media Contacts
Privacy policy
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.