LAW 926

Rebellious Lawyering

This Seminar will immerse students in “rebellious lawyering” – the name given both to a particular vision of problem solving practiced by growing numbers of lawyers and to the broad movement championing this vision.  Practitioners pursuing the rebellious vision aim to collaborate well with others, to frame and address problems from different perspectives, to design and implement a wide range of strategies, to monitor execution and enforcement, to evaluate the overall impact of strategic interventions, and to manage offices and organizations and systems.  Uniting these key fundamentals, rebellious practitioners aspire to achieve a radically participatory and egalitarian democracy, where full citizenship is a concrete everyday reality and not just a vague promise.
Informed by the rebellious vision of problem solving, the Seminar aims in particular to enhance the capacity to work ambitiously and effectively with low-income, of color, immigrant communities and with other marginalized groups and individuals.  That enhanced capacity proves pivotal to all lawyering – to work in small private firms, not-for-profit organizations, government offices, and the pro bono realm of boutique, middle-size, and big-firm practices.  Insights will be drawn from a range of roles lawyers fill and institutions within which they practice.  The Workshop will explore (1) the assumptions and aspirations of diverse practitioners defining their work rebelliously, (2) the on-the-ground abilities required of those approaching problem solving in this way, and (3) the challenges these practitioners present to conventional wisdom about the problem solving at the heart of legal education and the legal profession.
The Seminar will not itself entail any experiential work.  But the course is designed to orient future practitioners to appreciate how visions of practice inevitably define our work and how the rebellious vision contrasts with other approaches that still dominate practice in virtually all offices, organizations, and institutions.  Through this course, students will be far better prepared than ever before to make conscious choices in the work they do in law school clinics and externships, in summer and part-time jobs, in volunteer positions, and in the permanent roles they will fill after graduation.  This will be true across the universe of practice areas – family and juvenile justice, civil rights, transaction work, criminal defense, immigration, death penalty, environmental, employment and labor, entertainment, health, personal injury, human rights, education, consumer, prison and reentry, and on and on.

This Seminar is a graded, 3-unit course, with attendance, active participation, written reactions to readings, and a final individual paper all required.  There are no prerequisites.  The final paper can, with Professor López’ approval, satisfy the Student Analytic Writing Requirement, or the Critical Race Studies Writing Requirement for graduation.  Enrollment is limited to 12 students and admission is by consent of instructor.  Please submit your application in timely fashion.

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