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Elective Course

2 Credit(s)
LAW 521

Lawyers advancing causes have been around for as long as the bar has been existence.  Spanning the political spectrum and calling themselves various names—“movement”, “public interest”, “community”, “rebellious”, “critical”, “activist”, “social justice,” and “law and organizing,” to name a few—cause lawyers practice law to transform society.  What is this “deviant strain within the legal profession” (as some scholars have described them)?  How are cause lawyering practices similar?  How are they different?  What professional issues do cause lawyers face, and how do—and should—they deal with them?

In this course, we will survey cause lawyers in historical context, focusing on the mid-20th century onwards.  Drawing on law and society, critical and clinical scholarship, we will consider various practices and examine their features.  What are their aims?  The circumstances they work under?  Their methods?  Examining various ways cause lawyers do their work, we will draw practical lessons.  This course has a practicum component that will allow each student to participate in a range of cause lawyering initiatives.