We’re happy to share two great articles from the past week that feature the work of the Lab.
The first, “The Justice Gap: America’s unfulfilled promise of ‘equal justice under law'” by Lincoln Caplan, is a longform piece in Harvard Magazine that puts the Lab’s studies of self-help materials in the context of the larger debate about how best to address the access to justice gap. It’s a great read if you’re interested in learning more about the history of legal aid and how the work of the Lab fits into that framework.
The second, “Unicorns: RCTs, the Social Sciences, and IRBs” by Tonya Ferraro, published in Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R)‘s blog, Ampersand, draws on Jim Greiner’s research on the history of RCTs in the legal profession. Ensuring that studies that involve human subjects, such as the studies run by the Lab, are ethical is an important part of the legal research process that both lawyers and review boards can be unfamiliar with because of the paucity of RCTs in law. The article describes how the IRB process can adapt to meet the needs of such studies.
For those of you who don’t engage in academic research, “IRB” is short for Institutional Review Board; institutions whose faculty and students engage in research establish their own committees, which ensure that any studies involving human subjects meet federal ethical standards. (If you’re unfamiliar with IRBs and how they operate, you can learn more here.)