Research-Practitioner Loop in Access to Justice work

Last week I had a double conference weekend in DC. The first was with front-line lawyers and executive directors at legal aid groups and public defender officers. The second was with academics and researchers, who are studying the access to justice crisis & movement towards solutions.

One call I heard: we need more collaboration between these 2 groups!

We need researchers working on “What Works” to address and resolve the justice crisis. We need to scope & carry out research projects together.

How do we get more researchers and practitioners in justice to work on great research projects that can have transformative impact?

We need court leadership involved in research together. This call came from DC Chief Judge Anna Blackburne Rigsby. Court leaders don’t know exactly how their court is actually performing & what impact they are having on people’s lives.

Can we have courts and researchers working together better?

More research can document what people’s experiences, burdens, and outcomes are. This can feed into a change management loop with court leadership, to help them understand the needs for improvement.