Rebecca L. Sandefur

Associate Professor of Sociology and Law

Rebecca L. Sandefur is Associate Professor of Sociology and Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She is also Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation, where she founded and leads the Foundation’s access to justice research initiative. In 2013, she was The Hague Visiting Chair in the Rule of Law, affiliated with the Hague Institute for the Internationalization of Law. 

Sandefur's research focuses on inequality, particularly as it relates to law. Her scholarship includes investigations of work and inequality in the legal profession and other professional occupations, lawyers' pro bono service and its contributions to legal aid, and studies of ordinary people’s experiences with common problems that could bring them into contact with the civil justice system. 

Her current research on the public includes the Community Needs and Services Study (CNSS), a community-sited, multi-method study of ordinary people’s experiences with civil justice problems and the resources available to assist them in handling those problems. The CNSS is funded by the NationalScience Foundation (SES-1123507) and the American Bar Foundation.  

Her current research on the legal profession includes work drawing on the After the JD (AJD) surveys that explores how lawyers who take relatively low-paying jobs serving government, public interest causes, or ordinary people are able (or not) to manage high levels of educational debt. She also serves on the Executive Coordinating Committee of the AJD.

Media outlets such as The Washington Post, ABA Journal, and Los Angeles Daily Journal have written about her work.