Public Interest Law and Practice
This course will examine the history, theoretical frameworks, strategies and political position of public interest law practice and attorneys in the United States. We will consider the role of lawyers and the legal system in advancing reforms; different career paths of public interest lawyers; ethical issues related to working as a lawyer within a social movement; the personal impacts of this type of career choice; and strategies employed by lawyering in differing settings, from issue-based non-profits to government agencies, and private public interest law firms or legal services groups. Readings will include law review articles, legal pleadings and case studies that allow analysis and exploration of the tensions and challenges that exist within the legal system for public interest practitioners. Students will also be exposed to practical skills outside of litigation that social justice lawyers should understand. Students will be asked to produce several short papers throughout the quarter. For an additional credit and Research credit, students will be asked to produce a substantially longer paper on a related topic and can be excused from some of the shorter assignments. Students taking the seminar for Research credit can take the seminar for either 2 or 3 units, depending on the paper length. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. Elements used in grading: Attendance, class participation, written assignments.