Something’s Fishy . . .

Pregnant women want to make sure they are taking every possible prenatal precaution to ensure their children’s healthy development. Although “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” has both helped–and daunted–soon-to-be mothers over the years, doctors still advise them using evidence-based practices derived from rigorous medical testing and a culture of experimentation. The intended result is less adherence to urban legends and more confidence about prenatal health choices.

draftfishoil2Well, sort of. For years, obstetricians told women to take fish oil during their pregnancies. A key ingredient in fish oil is docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, which is considered integral to cognitive development. The logic was simple: mother takes fish oil, baby receives more DHA, and baby’s IQ rises! The plan sounded remarkably easy, and several observational studies touted its benefits. After all, who wouldn’t want to ensure their child’s acceptance to an elite university just by taking a pill?


You’ve Been Served

Who doesn’t love a great flowchart?! We at the A2J Lab certainly do. A few weeks ago, I posted about service of process in guardianship cases, illustrating via a (frankly overwhelming) diagram just how complicated the process is in the Boston area. Properly serving potentially interested parties is an important step in the petition process that is often glossed over. In fact, many petitioners often assume that filing the petition is all they have to do before showing up to court. But this disregards the essential notice that needs to be communicated in the meantime. When a legal issue is both overlooked and complex, we consider it ripe for innovation and evaluation in the name of access to justice.


Student Series: Active vs. Passive Intake

Students may be on spring break right now, but our Student Series is still here! There are over forty students working with the Lab on several projects, and so far the Student Series have brought you posts by students on different teams within the Financial Distress Research Project (FDRP). This week we hear from 2L Joe Breen, who has been constructing initial mailings to send to small claims court debt collection defendants to persuade them to answer their lawsuits and inquire about the FDRP study. The outreach directs people to legal help that’s available in the courthouse, offered by legal services providers. Joe discusses below an essential component of legal services organizations; intake and outreach. Not only have we written about these issues and how they relate to triage in our own blog posts, but our Faculty Director wrote an article on the specific issue Joe brings up below; the difference between active and passive structures of intake.


The A2J Lab Hits the Conference Circuit

A dispatch from Sophie, Chris & Erika

Over the last month, the A2J Lab decamped from snowy Boston to the rainy climes of Portland, OR for the National Association for Court Management (NACM) Midyear Meeting and blustery San Francisco for the first stand-alone Self-Represented Litigation Network (SRLN) conference. The former gathered court administrators from around the country to improve the public’s trust and confidence in the judiciary–a goal near and dear to the Lab. The latter opened with a keynote from Judge Lisa Foster, former Director of the DOJ Office for Access to Justice. She encouraged attendees to “create, innovate, [and] demonstrate” over two full days of discussions, research panels, and workshops regarding critical SRL issues.