Professor Sandefur is a sociologist. She teaches at Arizona State University and she is a faculty fellow of the American Bar Foundation, which she joined in 2010 in order to found and lead the ABF’s access-to-justice initiative.

Before she focused on access to justice, Sandefur studied the social structure of the legal profession. For example, in 2005 she published Urban Lawyers: The New Social Structure of the Bar, with several co-authors. By 2007 she had begun to shift her focus to access to justice, publishing “Lawyers’ Pro Bono Service and American-Style Civil Legal Assistance” in the Law & Society Review (in 2019 she became the editor of Law & Society Review).

Sandefur’s 2014 study, “Accessing Justice in the Contemporary USA,” is important because for all that we talk about the “access-to-justice gap,” we don’t actually know much about it. In this study and in her other work, Sandefur brings the kind of big-picture, scientific study we desperately need. I was lucky enough to discuss it with her on The Lawyerist Podcast in 2019:

Sandefur’s most recent report concerns the use of legal technology by non-lawyers, and identifies numerous instances where existing technology fails to correspond to people’s needs and capabilities.

Published on January 6th, 2022, by Sam Glover.