Cartoon, legal self-help, courtroom, asserting rights

Financial Distress Research Project (FDRP) Launches!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the Access to Justice Lab! In April we launched the Pre-Trial Release Study in Dane County, Wisconsin. A few weeks ago we launched Part 2 of the Debt Collection Default Study in multiple court locations in Massachusetts. We are now excited to officially announce the start of what could turn into the largest RCT ever conducted in the law: the Financial Distress Research Project (“FDRP”)!


Problem of Default Study Part 2 Launches!

And we’re off!

The Brooke Courthouse in downtown Boston.

Last week we launched Part 2 of the Debt Collection Default Study, kicking off with Boston Municipal Court (BMC) Central Division civil and small claims cases.

To set the scene: about 65-90% of people who are sued in debt collection proceedings across the country default, or lose their cases, because they don’t show up to court. At the BMC and many other courts in the Boston metro area, volunteer lawyers stand ready to assist defendants when they do show up. People might not show up for a variety of reasons. Maybe they think the debt is paid already. The plaintiff company might have the wrong person. The defendant is afraid of appearing in court. Or, she doesn’t know what’s expected of her from the Court Notice. Whatever the reason, access to justice surely suffers when half of the players don’t show up to the game.


Guest Post: Eviction in Arizona Part II, The Simpla Phi Solution

A couple weeks ago, A2J Lab affiliate Daniel Bernal introduced some of the glaring gaps in access to justice that defendants in summary eviction proceedings experience in Arizona. This week, he dives a little deeper into his own fascinating research.

The Simpla Phi Solution

Five-years ago, Judge Dean Christoffel forged a partnership between the Pima County Superior Court, the University of Arizona, and the James E. Rogers College of Law with the explicit goal of making courts more accessible. This team took the name Simpla Phi Lex and primarily worked to revise pleading forms and create self-help materials for self-represented litigants.


Research Award Granted for Financial Distress Research Project

It’s a good day for empiricism in the law! Professor Dalié Jiménez, an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law who works with the Lab on the Financial Distress Research Project (FDRP), was just awarded $25,000 through the Research Excellence Program at the University of Connecticut to support the FDRP. Read more about Research Award Granted for Financial Distress Research Project[…]

Guest Post: Eviction in Arizona Part I

Today we hear from A2J Lab Affiliate Daniel W. Bernal, a J.D./Ph.D. student at the James E. Rogers College of Law and the University of Arizona. Daniel has been conducting research on evictions in Arizona with an eye toward access gaps in summary proceedings. His research is culminating in an RCT (!) testing the effectiveness of self-help materials for pro se tenant litigants. We’ll hear from Daniel in a series of blog posts.