Georgia State Law students have logged 1,800 hours of legal service through the Center’s Pro Bono Program since 2017.
The Center for Access to Justice conducts research and hosts community education programs to explore and address obstacles to access to justice. Our student programming helps prepare future lawyers to be agents of change.
1 of 12 schools to receive an A+ for public interest law by Prelaw Magazine (2018)
Alternative Spring Break
trips each year
Law School Excellence in
Access to Justice Award
The center is a community for students interested in addressing disparities in the justice system.
Through our Certificate in Public Interest Law and Policy, students gain the skills and knowledge they need to advocate for underrepresented individuals, communities, and interests.
The Pro Bono Program and Alternative Spring Break give students the chance to serve in the community alongside practicing attorneys in a variety of areas.
The Center’s Alternative Spring Break trips give students a chance to spend a week immersed in an area of law, engaging in related pro bono service. Students work with licensed attorneys to receive training and put their skills into practice.
Check this section for information about Spring 2020 trips. Information sessions will be held in January 2020.
There are class coordinators for each trip. The 2019 coordinators are:
- Rural Justice: Trey Barnett (J.D. ’21) and Riley McGuire (J.D. ’21)
- Immigration Detention: Jessica Luegering (J.D. ’21) and Martha Correa-Jamison (J.D. ’20)
- Landlord-Tenant: Will Rains (J.D. ’21) and Briana James (J.D. ’21)
Community Lawyering in Atlanta
Immigration Detention in Lumpkin, Georgia
Rural Justice in Dougherty County, Georgia
Landlord/tenant law in Atlanta
Criminal court observation in Jackson, Mississippi
The Center for Access to Justice conducts and facilitates research to help identify and better understand the difficulties individuals face in navigating the justice system. Below are a few examples of the research projects underway or recently completed by the Center and its student fellows.
In partnership with Georgia Tech professors Joshua Weitz and Chad Wigington, the center produced an Access to Justice map of Georgia. The map provides a snapshot of how geographic and demographic data may impact a person’s ability to access legal resources in the pursuit of justice.
Eviction in Semi-Rural Georgia
In 2018, the center received a $24,00 Opportunity Grant from the American Bar Endowment to study eviction in semi-rural Georgia. The study is a collaboration with the Georgia State Sociology department and the Georgia Legal Services Program.
The Center’s faculty director, Lauren Sudeall, co-authored an article, Legal Deserts: A Multi-State Perspective on Rural Access to Justice about common obstacles people in rural areas have to navigating the justice system.
Assessing the Civil Legal Needs of Indigent Criminal Defendants
Supported by a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation, the Center conducted a study, Unfamiliar Justice: Indigent Criminal Defendants’ Experiences with Civil Legal Needs, of the civil legal needs of indigent criminal defendants. In conjunction with the Sociology and Criminal Justice and Criminology departments at Georgia State, the center worked with public defender offices in Fulton and DeKalb counties to assess the nature and pervasiveness of civil legal issues facing those who enter the criminal justice system.
Observations from Mississippi State Criminal Courts
As part of an Alternative Spring Break trip, and in conjunction with the Mississippi Office of the Public Defender, students observed court proceedings to see how indigent defendants experience criminal courts. The report, “Mississippi’s No-Counsel Courts” details the unconstitutional practices students witnessed in some of Mississippi’s misdemeanor courts.
Misdemeanor Bail Reform
Several states and municipalities, including Atlanta, have recently enacted or considered legislation to address pretrial policy, such as bail practices. The center prepared the report, “Misdemeanor Bail Reform and Litigation: An Overview” for the Georgia Judicial Council’s Committee on Misdemeanor Bail for its use in considering what changes might be implemented in Georgia.
Self-help Resources in Georgia
In 2016, more than 800,000 cases in Georgia involved self-represented litigants. In partnership with the Administrative Office of the Courts, the center worked with a student to profile a sample set of self-help resources of Court-based Self-Help Programs available in Georgia Courts.
P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
85 Park Place NE
Atlanta, GA 30303