Curriculum Guide · Courses
Public Interest Lawyering
J.D. Course 020 | 3 credit hours
This course will examine the work of lawyers in using litigation and policy advocacy to pursue economic, social, and racial justice in America, both on behalf of individuals and in relation to larger structural problems in the society. The course will begin with case studies of the decades-long effort to end school segregation, the more recent work for educational equity and adequacy, and lawyering directed at reducing poverty in the United States. The course will go on to look, with the help of guest practitioners, at the various roles that lawyers play in public interest law firms and legal service organizations. This portion of the course will begin with a focus on issues associated with representation of individuals who cannot afford legal assistance, move on to study problems and possibilities involved in impact litigation, and turn finally to examination of advocacy in legislative bodies and executive branches of government both federal and local. Guests will come from national and local nonprofit organizations, and will include litigators and people who do policy advocacy. Case studies will include pro bono work in private firms and government lawyering in both the legislative realm and in executive agencies.
This course is a first-year elective. First year day students select an elective offered in the spring.