Innovation for Justice: Unlock Change

The civil legal system promises justice for all, but in reality, that promise is not being delivered. Barriers to entry, power imbalances, and flawed processes inhibit the civil legal system from working as it should. Marginalized populations are most likely to be excluded from effective use of the civil legal system. In the midst of this system failure, how can innovation and technology unlock the promise of equal justice?  

The Innovation for Justice program exposes students to the justice gap, engages students in thinking critically about the power of technology and innovation to close that gap, and empowers students to be disruptive problem-solvers in the changing world of legal services. Students will work across disciplines and with government, private and community partners, implementing design thinking and systems thinking to create new models of legal empowerment.

Events & Announcements

ELDA Grant
School's out for summer, but the Innovation for Justice Program is hard at work in the Experiential Learning Design Accelerator. We'll be using design thinking to explore how we might incorporate more effective and sustainable experiential learning for undergraduate students in the Visualizing Justice course. Thanks to the University of Arizona's Office of Student Engagement and Career Development!



i4J is one of six nominees for the Arizona Bar Foundation's Innovation Awards:  Donate by June 7, 2019 to help us earn a matching donation and support our project-based, community-engaged social justice work!



Innovators Welcome
Join us on April 2, 2019, 3:15 p.m. to 5:05 p.m. in Room 21.  Students will share works-in-progress as they tackle the challenge of designing a new tier of legal professional in partnership with Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse.
We want your feedback on our work! RSVP to



Innovating Legal Services
Panel discussion with Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales, Arizona State Bar President Jeffrey Willis and Arizona Access to Justice Commission Chair Lawrence F. Winthrop on changes facing the civil legal profession



Jan. 22, 2019, 3-5 p.m.
Click here for CLE materials

The Innovation for Justice Curriculum

The i4J program includes three courses, as well as a variety of extracurricular opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students across campus.

Fall -- Innovation for Justice: Law 672.  This project-based course exposes the ways in which America’s civil legal system fails to provide justice for all, explores innovations targeted at addressing that systemic failure, and empowers students to design and launch solutions to the justice gap. Topics include: the constitutional underpinnings of our right to access our legal system; poverty in our community; the civil legal needs of low- and moderate-income Americans; how the design of our legal system inhibits equal access; the access to justice movement; how technological innovations are changing the legal system; and methodologies for innovating and improving the civil legal system. In 2019-2020, the Innovation for Justice program will partner with Harvard Law's Systemic Justice Project and Duke University School of Law in a multiple jurisdiction, interdisciplinary collaboration examining the complex needs of human trafficking survivors and exploring innovative ways to spark social change.

Spring -- Innovating Legal Services, Law 672A.  The majority of Americans can’t afford to hire counsel when confronted with a civil legal need.  As a result, they attempt to navigate the civil legal system without representation, or simply do not engage with the system at all.  What are the societal implications of that system failure, and what can we do to change the status quo?  Each semester, the course will focus on a particular avenue of legal service and explore what’s working and what’s not, with the goal of generating creative solutions. Guest participants from the community will be invited to work with students in problem identification and solution building.  In Spring 2019, this course will be co-taught by incoming State Bar President Jeffrey Willis. 

Spring -- Visualizing Justice, LAW/ART 360.  This is a 3-credit, interdisciplinary course that combines legal, art and design concepts to explore: (1) what are legal rights; (2) how do we communicate legal rights; (3) how do we navigate legal processes; (4) how can art and design inform how legal rights and legal information are conveyed, in order to empower people and make legal systems more accessible and navigable?  This course is co-taught by associate art professor Kelly Leslie.


Now - Winter 2020: The RENT Project

Fall 2018 Innovation for Justice: 

Spring 2019 Innovating Legal Services:

Spring 2019 Visualizing Justice:

i4J in the News

New Website Designed to Avoid Eviction Proceedings: Hello Landlord from BYU, the University of Arizona & SixFifty, The National Law Review July 2019

New app helps people deal with landlords, KTNV News July 2019

America is facing an eviction crisis. This tool could keep families in their homes, FastCompany June 2019

Changing The Narrative On Evictions: "A No Villains Rule" And A Real Solution, Forbes June 2019

In Unique Partnership, Two Law Schools And A Private Company Collaborate On Tool To Reduce Evictions, LawSites June 2019

Web-Based Tool Hello Landlord Aims To Decrease Evictions, Improve Tenant-Landlord Communication, KJZZ 91.5 June 2019

UA program launches online tool to help tenants, landlords deal with problems, AZ Daily Star June 2019

UA law students help create website to curb eviction problem, KVOA News June 2019

Wildcat involvement in creating 'Hello Landlord,' seeking reduced evictions nationwide, KGUN News June 2019

New website ‘Hello Landlord’ helps give renters back their voice, KOLD News June 2019

Pima County Says There Is an Eviction ProblemKGUN News, March 2019

Free panel discussion aims to find ways to prevent Tucson evictions,  Arizona Daily Star March 2019

Re-Thinking Legal Services,  Arizona Attorney, February 2019

Solutions: More affordable housing, right to legal counsel could ease Tucson's eviction problem,  Arizona Daily Star  November 2018

You Think Legal Education Can't Change?  8 Innovative Ideas from Law Schools, Legaltech News, November 2018

University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and Brigham Young University Law School Develop Unique Collaboration, What Great Law Schools Do, November 2018

Is There a Better Way to Battle Evictions?, CityLab / The Atlantic Monthly, August 2018

Tackling Evictions: BYU And UA Law Schools Partner On Legal Research Project, National Law Review, August 2018

UA students to tackle Pima County's eviction woes in new law school course, Arizona Daily Star, August 2018

UA, BYU Partner To Study Housing Evictions And How To Decrease Them, National Public Radio, KJZZ, August 2018

UA College of Law teaming up with BYU to tackle eviction, KGUN 9 News, August 2018

Justice Innovation with Law School Design Labs, American Bar Association Dialogue, June 2018

Who We Are

Stacy Butler, Director

Stacy Butler has two decades of experience in community advocacy and expanding the reach of civil legal services for under-served populations. In 2017, she launched Step Up to Justice, a pro bono civil legal center that delivers free legal services to low-income families in Pima County. Butler created an Access to Justice course at University of Arizona Law in 2017.  She earned a BA from Trinity University and a JD from the University of Arizona. Butler was named one of the Top 50 Pro Bono Attorneys in Arizona by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services in 2006, 2014 and 2015.  



The Advisory Board

With a deep background in designing and implementing innovative access to justice initiatives for legal aid, the courts and private practice, Katherine’s philosophy throughout her career has been to build common sense, consumer oriented solutions by learning, innovating and sharing. After clerking for a trial court judge, Katherine worked at Alaska Legal Services Corporation, initially handling DV matters and later as the Aging Grant Coordinator. In 2001, Katherine joined the Alaska Court System to develop the statewide Family Law Self-Help Center, which resulted in the nation's first virtual self-help center. Operating solely through telephone and Internet capabilities, the Center was also one of the early TIG grantees. In 2008, Katherine moved to private practice, establishing a successful unbundled practice supporting self-represented litigants in Alaska, and helped to create the first Unbundled Law Section of a state bar. An early member of Self-Represented Litigation Network, she has led the SRLN since August 2013. Katherine is particularly interested in building delivery systems for rural and vulnerable populations and creating community based legal assistance environments that prioritize judicial engagement and leadership to re-imagine services and approaches used by the private bar, legal aid, court staff and non-legal community providers so that everyone can get the legal help they need, when they need it in a format they can use. Katherine sits on the Advisory Committee for Voices for Civil Justice, serves as the Senior Advisor to the Justice for All Project, and is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Georgetown Institute for Technology Law and Policy. She received the National Center for State Court's Distinguished Service Award in 2019 for her work to improve access to justice in the courts. Katherine, a graduate of Northwestern University and Seattle University School of Law, resides in Virginia.

Judge Cruz obtained a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law and has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona.  She began her practice of law as a prosecutor in Arizona at the Yuma County Attorney’s Office, prosecuting felony offenders.  Later, she practiced in criminal defense, eventually venturing into solo practice.  

As a solo practitioner, Judge Cruz primarily undertook representation in criminal and family law matters and served as judge pro-tem for the Cocopah Indian Tribe.  In 2008 Judge Cruz was elected Superior Court Judge in Yuma County, Arizona and at the time of her appointment to the Court of Appeals was the Presiding Judge in Yuma County.  

In addition to her judicial responsibilities, Judge Cruz serves on the Arizona Supreme Court’s Commission on Access to Justice, as well as the Arizona Supreme Court’s Task Force on Justice for All and the Commission on Victims in the Court. 

Judge Cruz contributes to the development of the law internationally by serving as a professor of law teaching trial advocacy in various regions within the Republic of Mexico, including Mexico City, Tijuana, Mexicali, La Paz, and Guanajuato. 

Dan Jackson directs the NuLawLab at Northeastern University School of Law, an interdisciplinary innovation laboratory that has been working since 2012 to merge creative arts and law to create new models of legal empowerment.  Dan is a 1997 graduate of Northeastern Law and a 1990 graduate of Northwestern University.  Following a postgraduate clerkship with The Hon. Hugh H. Bownes at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Dan worked for 13 years with the law firm of Bingham McCutchen, ultimately serving as the firm’s director of attorney development after practicing in the employment law group.  Prior to law school, Dan worked as a designer for theater.  He continues to do so, most recently with the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival and The Provincetown Theater. 

As a political appointee in the Obama Administration, Karen A. Lash served in leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice (ATJ) and as the first Executive Director of the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (LAIR). Karen conceptualized, implemented, and led LAIR, a first-of-its-kind executive branch policymaking model for civil legal aid, that brought together 22 federal agencies to identify programs, policies, and initiatives that could work more effectively and efficiently by incorporating legal aid. 
After leaving the Justice Department, Karen joined American University’s School of Public Affairs Justice Programs Office as a Practitioner-in-Residence and Director of The Justice in Government Project. With funding from the Open Society Foundations, Public Welfare Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation, Karen is applying the lessons learned from LAIR to state agencies to similarly ensure that scarce resources are most effectively used to achieve state goals regarding low income and other underserved populations by adding legal aid partners. 
Before joining the Obama Administration, Karen consulted with U.S. law schools and advocacy organizations including the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), American Constitution Society, Mississippi Center for Justice (MCJ), University of California law schools at Berkeley and Irvine, and helped advance university legal clinics in Moldova, Ukraine, Slovakia, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, and Macedonia. She served as a co-chair of the California Access to Justice Commission, as Associate Dean at the University of Southern California Law School, and as Vice President of Programs at Equal Justice Works; practiced law at Tuttle & Taylor and Public Counsel; and clerked for Judge Warren J. Ferguson, Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. 
Recent honors include Attorney General Eric Holder’s John Marshall Award for Outstanding Legal Achievement for Participation in Litigation, recognition from Attorney General Loretta Lynch for her LAIR work, MCJ’s Champion of Justice Award, and NLADA’s Innovation Award. She is a frequent conference keynote and presenter, and her publications include Executive Branch Support for Civil Legal Aid, Daedalus, Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (Winter 2019), The Obama Legacy: Legal Aid Across Government Agencies, Talk Poverty, (December 22, 2016), Pitching Pro Bono: Getting to First Base with the ‘Big Firm’, 2 DePaul J. for Soc. Just. 141 (2008); Mitigating Disaster: Lessons Learned in Mississippi, (with Reilly Morse), 77 Miss. L. J. 101 (2008); and Federal Government as Your Partner: What Advocates Should know about Federal Resources for Veterans’ Legal Aid , 68 S. C. L. Rev. 209 (2016). She currently serves on the boards of advisors to the UC Berkeley/Irvine School of Law Civil Justice Research Institute and Tzedek DC. 

Joyce is the Founding Executive Director of the Florida Justice Technology Center (FJTC), a statewide technology organization she helped create with the access to justice community of Florida.  FJTC partners with legal aid organizations, the courts, the clerk’s offices, the private bar, law schools, and others to increase access to justice through the innovative use of technology. Prior to creating FJTC, Joyce was an independent consultant working at the intersection of access to justice and technology. Before that Joyce spent eight years with the Legal Services Corporation co-founding the TIG program and is a 2009 recipient of the Innovations in Equal Justice Award presented jointly by the ABA/NLADA. Joyce has a graduate degree in Public Administration from American University and is PMP Certified by the Project Management Institute. 

Miguel Willis currently serves as the inaugural Presidential Innovation Fellow at Law School Admission Council, where he oversees the Access to Justice Tech Fellows Program. The Tech Fellows Program pairs law students with legal services organizations to develop projects that support the use of technology, data, and design-thinking to bridge the justice gap in America. 
Miguel began his legal career at the Department of Justice Office of Immigration Litigation while obtaining his bachelor’s degree in political science at Howard University. While at Seattle University School of Law, Miguel worked with a developer to create CaseBooker, a textbook marketplace app for law students. He served as president of the Black Law Students Association and on the National Black Law Students Association National Board. He was an outspoken opponent of the city’s proposal to build a new juvenile jail. 
Miguel’s entrepreneurial spirit, drive to innovate, and commitment to diversity and access to justice earned him recognition by the American Bar Association as a 2018 “Legal Rebel.” He also competed as a finalist in the Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch Completion and was recognized as the 2016 National Jurist Law Student of the Year.  
Miguel is committed to leveraging his law degree in a nontraditional way to solve seemingly intractable problems. Upon graduating law school, he worked at the Alaska Court System to help solve the problem of access to justice for low-income communities.


Kimball Dean Parker is the Director of LawX, the legal design lab at BYU Law School. Under his direction, LawX developed SoloSuit, an automated software that helps debt collection defendants answer a lawsuit in Utah. Kimball is also the President of Parsons Behle Lab, the innovation subsidiary of the law firm Parsons Behle & Latimer. Parsons Behle Lab recently released an automated GDPR compliance software called GDPR IQ (   For his efforts to make the law accessible, Kimball received a Fastcase 50 Award. He was also recognized as the 2018 Cyber Pioneer by the Utah Bar and a Forty under 40 recipient by Utah Business magazine. 


Jeffrey Willis was the 2018-2019 president of the State Bar of Arizona and is a senior partner with Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. based in the Tucson office. Jeff has engaged in substantial service to the Bar and the public regarding Access to Justice issues, including co-chairing the 2015 “Arizona Forward” initiative at the request of Chief Justice Scott Bales. He has served in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and as Chair of the ABA Legal Services Training Committee. Jeff was president of the Tucson Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and was a Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. He is currently on the Board of the Arizona Justice Project and soon to be inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. From 2012 to 2016 he was an Adjunct Professor at the James E. Rogers School of Law teaching Advanced Trial Advocacy.


Kelly Leslie teaches Beginning Design Studio, Publication Design, Design for Web and Devices, and Professional Practices in Design. Her work includes client based commissions, drawings, and digital fabrication. She has exhibited in China, Japan, and Australia as well as the US.

Karen Adam retired from the bench in November 2015 after 34 years of service as a Tucson City Court Magistrate, a Pima County Superior Court Commissioner, and a Pima County Superior Court Judge. As presiding judge of the Pima County Juvenile Court from 2011-2014, Judge Adam led the effort to convert PCJCC to a trauma-responsive court.

Judge Adam is a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and the Arizona and National Chapters of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. She is president of the board of the Children’s Center for Law and Policy and is a member of the Prevention and Family Recovery National Advisory Council at Children and Family Futures, consulting on Family Treatment Drug Court grants and programs.

Judge Adam writes and lectures on juvenile and family law topics and has served as faculty for the National Judicial College since 2007.


i4J is grateful for the financial support of the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice and Nextrio.


i4J students' project-based, community-engaged learning would not be possible without the generous support of these individuals and organizations who donate their time and talent to our program.

Fall 2018 contributors:

Bonnie Bazata, Pima County Ending Poverty Now 

Judge Tom Berning, Tucson City Court 

Emily Bregel, Arizona Daily Star 

Lissette Calderon, UA College of Law 

Jane Carter, Pima County Consolidated Justice Court 

Georges Clement, Just Fix NYC 

Manira Cervantes, Pima County Community Action Agency 

James Daube, Southern Arizona Legal Aid 

Rick DeBruehl, Arizona State Bar 

Randy Downer, Inter-State Investigative Services 

Judy Drickey-Prohow, Law Offices of Scott M. Clark 

Gregg Flatt, MC Properties 

Judge Keith Frankel, Maricopa County Justice Court 

Prof. Christopher Griffin, UA College of Law 

Heather Hiscox, Moves the Needle 

Judge Anna Huberman, Maricopa County Justice Court 

Peggy Hutchison, Primavera Foundation 

Hanna Kaufman, Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois 

Anne Kurtin, UA Office of Student Engagement 

Courtney LeVinus, Arizona Multihousing Association 

Chris Maglione, Maglione Rentals 

Alex Mastengelo, Habitation Realty 

Sarah Mauet, UA Academic Initiatives and Student Success 

Prof. Brian Mayer, UA Dept. of Sociology 

Judge Ron Newman, Pima County Consolidated Justice Court 

Pima County Public Library, Main Library 

Pima County Mothers in Arizona Moving Ahead 

Pima County Consolidated Justice Court 

Judge Vincent Roberts, Pima County Consolidated Justice Court 

Prof. Christopher Robertson, UA College of Law 

JJ Rico, Arizona Center for Disability Law 

Amanda Rutherford, Step Up to Justice 

Lilian Schwartz, University of Arizona 

Sally Stang, City of Tucson Housing and Community Development Department 

Cristie Street, Nextrio 

Dan Sullivan, Pima County Sullivan Jackson Center 

Michael Wagenheim, UA College of Law 

Matthew Waterman, Southern Arizona Legal Aid 

Alden Woods, Arizona Republic 

Jay Young, Southwest Fair Housing Council 


Spring 2019 graduate course contributors: 

Sheronda Jordan, Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse 

Anna Harper-Guerrero, Exec. Vice Pres. and Chief Strategy Officer, Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse 

Cozetta Blow, Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse 

The lay legal advocates at Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse 

Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales 

Arizona Access to Justice Commission Chair Judge Lawrence Winthrop 

City of Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild 

Ted Borek, Pima County Superior Court Judge (retired) 

Pima County Superior Court Commissioner pro tempore Dean Christoffel 

Pima County Superior Court Commissioner Alyce Pennington 

Tucson City Court Judge Wendy Million

John Phelps, Executive Director of the Arizona State Bar (retired) 

Craig Henley, Arizona State Bar Ethics Counsel  

Joanne Basta, Evaluation and Research, Pima County Juvenile Court 

Dr. Beverly Tobiason, PsyD, Pima County Juvenile Court 

Paula Littlewood, Executive Director, Washington State Bar 

Steve Crossland, Washington State Bar  

Dean Irving Kron, UA College of Medicine 

Dana Katbah, Southern Arizona Legal Aid 

Julie Maldonado, Southern Arizona Legal Aid 

Kristy Clairmont, attorney

Doug Levy, attorney 

Karen Diebolt, attorney 

Dean Marc Miller, UA College of Law 

Assoc. Dean Sally Rider, UA College of Law  

Prof. Barbara Atwood, UA College of Law 

Prof. Chris Griffin, UA College of Law 

Prof. Negar Katirai, UA College of Law 

Prof. Chris Robertson, UA College of Law 

Prof. Keith Swisher, UA College of Law 

Prof. Shefali Desai, UA College of Law 

Amber Owens, UA College of Law 

Robert Tripp, UA College of Law 

James Alvarez, UA College of Law 

Storyboards created with Scenes™ by SAP AppHaus (


Spring 2019 undergraduate course contributors: 

Bonnie Bazata, Pima County Ending Poverty Now

T Van Hook, Habitat for Humanity

Amanda Rutherford, Step Up to Justice

Sylvia Cuestas, Sullivan Jackson Employment Center

Gloria Valenzuela, Pima County Community Action Agency

Beth Carey, Primavera Foundation

Jay Young, Southwest Fair Housing Council

Judge Ron Newman, Pima County Consolidated Justice Court

Pima County Consolidated Justice Court

Pima County Public Library, Main Library