Laura K. Abel is Acting Director of the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. A singular institution – part think tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group – the Brennan Center combines scholarship, legislative and legal advocacy, and communications to win meaningful, measurable change in the public sector. The Justice Program works to ensure that low-income families and people with limited proficiency in English can participate meaningfully in legal proceedings when they are facing criminal charges, domestic violence, eviction from their homes, the loss of subsistence benefits, and other life-changing events. Laura is the author of the Brennan Center report Language Access in State Courts, of scholarship exploring the right to counsel in civil cases, and of numerous op eds and blog posts making vivid the importance of court access in cases concerning people’s basic human needs. Her work is inspired by the many prisoners she has represented who were punished for their attempts to protect their civil rights in court, and by her mother in law – a Cuban refugee who would need an interpreter in court even though she has lived in the U.S. for over 40 years.