Rebecca Sandefur. Civil Justice and Social Inequality

Monday, April 1, 2019 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Blumer Room - 402 Barrows Hall

Rebecca Sandefur, Monday, April 1, 2-3:30pm in 402 Barrows

Civil Justice and Social Inequality

Millions of Americans every year face civil justice problems that can lead to bankruptcy, homelessness, poverty, family separation, and ill health. Thinking about civil justice in a new way, as a social institution, propels a growing research evidence base that reveals how civil justice contributes to inequality. At the same time, this evidence provides opportunities to radically rethink how we "do" access to justice. The research identifies promising emerging models at the same time that it points to persistent challenges in both access to justice practice and in pushing social scientific research forward in this critical area. 

Rebecca L. Sandefur studies 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. Sandefur joined the American Bar Foundation (ABF) in 2010 to found and lead its access to justice research initiative. As a Faculty Fellow she continues to head this initiative, and she is also Associate Professor of Sociology and Law at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. 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. She is currently Editor of Law & Society Review. After receiving her PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago, she served for 9 years on the faculty of Stanford University.