Work toward social justice is part of the professional responsibility of all lawyers, and an aspiration for social justice animates many law students. This course provides an opportunity to consider the relationship between law and social justice in several different contexts, including the structure of the legal profession and the delivery of legal services; the efforts to achieve social justice and civil rights through litigation in work, subsistence, housing, and procedural due process; the problem of access to courts and the role of the judiciary; and the role of lawyers working with community movements. To ground these theoretical explorations in real-life practice, the course will feature presentations by practitioners who work in the area of public interest and social justice.
Instead of a final exam or research paper, students will work in teams to produce written “case studies” of a Bay Area social justice lawyering topic of their choosing. At the end of the semester, we will hold a day-long mini-conference for students to present their work to faculty, students, and interested members of the Santa Clara and Bay Area social justice community.