recent report from the American Bar Association portrayed the nation’s legal deserts – large swaths of the country in which there are few or no lawyers. That report followed from a 2018 paper published in the Harvard Law & Policy Review that documented these legal deserts and rural America’s increasingly dire access-to-justice crisis.

Our guest this week is one of the authors of that paper, Lauren Sudeall, associate professor of law and founding faculty director of the Center for Access to Justice at Georgia State University College of Law. We talk about legal deserts and about Sudeall’s other research, in which she focuses on access to the courts, in both the civil and criminal contexts, and on how lower-income individuals navigate the legal system, either with or without the help of a lawyer.

A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, Sudeall clerked for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt. She then worked at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, first as a Soros Justice Fellow and later as a staff attorney.

At the Southern Center, she represented indigent capital clients in Georgia and Alabama and litigated civil claims regarding constitutional violations within the criminal justice system, based primarily on the right to counsel. She serves on the Southern Center’s board of directors, the Indigent Defense Committee of the State Bar of Georgia, and the board of advisors for the Systemic Justice Project at Harvard Law School.

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Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.