Professor Victor D. Quintanilla, Val Nolan Faculty Fellow, and co-director of the Law School’s Center for Law, Society & Culture, has been designated as an affiliated scholar with the American Bar Foundation, the organization announced this week.
The affiliation, which formally began on September 1, will last for three years and allow Quintanilla to serve as a mentor to ABF doctoral fellows and take part in ABF initiatives.
Quintanilla was one of seven law professors selected from across the country for a 2021-22 ABF/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Scholars Program, which promotes the next generation of scholars leading the field of access to civil justice. The program brings together cohorts of faculty scholars from across the nation to support research, provide mentorship and build intellectual relationships to improve access to justice and combat poverty.
“It has been a great honor and pleasure to have you as part of the ABF research community in your role as an ABF/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Scholar,” said Bryant Garth, interim executive director and research professor with the ABF. “(We) were impressed by your research and your participation in our ABF access to justice research events and gatherings, and thus, we would like to extend this invitation to stay connected to the ABF. As I hope you know, I’ve been a fan of your research for some time.”
Quintanilla, also an affiliated professor at Indiana University’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, has used the Access to Justice Scholar Program to continue his essential work on access to justice, as evidenced most recently by his research on virtual proceedings, which garnered support from Pew Charitable Trusts. This research centers on the use of online technologies (e.g., Zoom) in civil justice proceedings, including evictions, debt collection, small claims, and family law proceedings, and how these online technologies create new opportunities to enhance access to justice while at the same time frustrating equity and fairness because of the digital divide. This research involves a collaboration with the Indiana Supreme Court and the Indiana Coalition for Court Access.
His research investigates civil justice design, access to justice, and legal education by drawing on theory and methods within the field of social psychology, including experiments conducted with judges, lawyers, law students, and members of the public. He currently serves as the PI of a research line that harnesses psychological methods to examine the experiences of unrepresented persons in court proceedings. Quintanilla examines how unrepresented persons, particularly racial/ethnic minorities and members of disadvantaged groups, experience the civil justice system. Quintanilla has written several recent articles about people-centered civil justice design, the social construction of pro se status, and conducted studies measuring legal needs and the public’s experience of civil justice. He designs and evaluates structural and psychological interventions to enhance access to justice for unrepresented persons within the civil justice system.