James W. Meeker received his J.D. and Ph.D. in sociology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. While writing his dissertation he was the senior personal law assistant to the Honorable R.S. Moule, Fourth Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the State of New York. His first faculty position was at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and after a 34 year academic career, 15 of which he was Associate Dean for the School of Social Ecology, he is currently a Professor Emeritus in the department of Criminology, Law and Society in the School of Social Ecology at UCI.
His research interests include the sociology of law, criminology and applied research methodology and statistics with particular emphasis on policy analysis. He has worked on Geographic Information Systems and the application of this technology to the analysis of gang incidents in Orange County. From 1995 to 2001 he was the Director of the Orange County Gang Incident Tracking System, a cooperative effort between UCI and the Orange County Chief’s & Sheriff Association, tracking gang crime in Orange County. More recently, he has applied this technology to the analysis of legal needs in the poverty community and the delivery of legal services by legal aid organizations. He has published in the areas of gangs, procedural justice, access to justice for the poor, legal services delivery mechanisms, domestic violence and the impact of criminological research on policy, and prosecutorial strategies against organized crime.
He has been on the board of directors for the Orange County Public Law Center from 1989 to date. He served on Justice Earl Johnson’s Access to Justice Working Group from 1993 to 1997 which called for the creation of the California Commission on Access to Justice. Since the Commission’s creation he has either been a commissioner or ex-officio member. He was a member of the Orange County Bar Modest Means Committee in 1998. He was a member of the 2014 California Bar Civil Justice Strategies Task Force. Since 2016 he has been a commissioner on the California Legal Services Trust Fund Commission.