Sociologist Rebecca Sandefur is one of the world’s leading scholars on access to justice. Professor at the Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University, she is also a faculty fellow at the American Bar Foundation, where she founded and leads the Access to Justice Research Initiative. In 2018, she was named a recipient of a MacArthur “genius grant” for her work promoting an evidence-based approach to increasing access to justice for low-income communities. 

In the wake of Washington state’s decision to sunset its pioneering Limited License Legal Technicians program, I ask Sandefur about that program, which she evaluated in a 2017 report, and about other programs in which those other than lawyers provide legal assistance. 

We also discuss access to justice more broadly, including the scope and causes of the justice gap, the obstacles to bridging it, the impact of race and class on access to justice, what works and what does not to close the gap, and why regulatory reform and technology are essential to enhancing access to justice. 


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