Title: Justice Futures: Building an Evidence-based and Outcome-focused Civil Justice
Abstract: In the United States and around the world, people every year face hundreds of millions of potentially life-alternating civil justice problems with no assistance. Traditional lawyer-centric approaches to filling this so-called "justice gap" have been robustly ineffective at scaling up to meet widespread unmet needs. Opening up the law is essential not only to achieve effective service delivery, but also because it is a democratic imperative -- it is a critical step in making law and justice accessible to the people to whom they are supposed to be accountable. Achieving this requires a strong evidence base and an engaged and diverse group of stakeholders.
Speaker Bio: Rebecca L. Sandefur investigates access to civil justice from every angle -- from how legal services are delivered and consumed, to how civil legal aid is organized around the nation, to the role of pro bono, to the relative efficacy of lawyers, nonlawyers and digital tools as advisers and representatives, to how ordinary people think about their justice problems and try to resolve them. She is Director and Professor in the School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University and Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation, where she founded and leads the Access to Justice Research Initiative.
She is a past editor-in-chief of Law & Society Review. Her public service includes her appointment by the Supreme Court of Utah to the state's Office of Legal Services Innovation and her appointment by the Supreme Court of Arizona to the Arizona Commission on Access to Justice.
In 2013, Sandefur was The Hague Visiting Chair in the Rule of Law. In 2015, she was named Champion of Justice by the National Center for Access to Justice. In 2018, she was named a MacArthur Fellow for her work on inequality and access to justice. In 2020, she was awarded the Warren E. Burger Award by the National Center for State Courts.