Erika Rickard, 2005-06 Judicial Fellow

Erika Rickard is the Senior Officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts new Civil Justice Innovation Project.

After graduating from Mills College in 2005, Rickard was a judicial fellow based in the research and planning department at the San Francisco Superior Court. Her experience in the capital fellows program launched her career in judicial administration and access to justice. She graduated from Harvard Law School, cum laude, in 2010, and clerked for the Honorable Cynthia Cohen on the Massachusetts Appeals Court. After her clerkship, Rickard became an Assistant Attorney General at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, representing state agencies in trial and appellate practice. She later became the state’s first Access to Justice Coordinator, where she developed and implemented new policies and programs in the areas of language access, technology, and resources for people navigating the court system without a lawyer. She left the Massachusetts courts to join the Access to Justice Lab, a research center focusing on conducting rigorous research on access to justice and court administration at Harvard Law School.  She is also a commissioner on the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission.

Rickard’s professional path has been taking different approaches to understand the role of the court in addressing (or compounding) people’s problems, and the complex challenges with navigating court administration – all issues that she first became aware of as a judicial fellow.

“My time in the San Francisco Superior Court completely shaped my professional identity. The mentorship I received from Sally Piña in the research department, and the network of thought leaders in court administration, continue to influence the ways that I think about and approach ideas of organizational change within the civil justice system.”