Faculty Profiles

Scott Cummings

Scott L. Cummings

Robert Henigson Professor of Legal Ethics
Professor of Law
B.A. University of California, Berkeley, 1992
J.D. Harvard, 1996
UCLA Faculty Since 2002

Scott Cummings is Robert Henigson Professor of Legal Ethics and Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, where he teaches and writes about the legal profession, public interest law, law and social movements, and community economic development. He is the faculty director of Legal Ethics and the Profession (LEAP), a program promotes research and programming on the challenges facing the contemporary legal profession. He is also a long-time member of the UCLA David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, a specialization training students to become public interest lawyers. Professor Cummings is co-author of the first public interest law textbook, Public Interest Lawyering: A Contemporary Perspective (with Alan Chen) (Wolters Kluwer, 2012), and co-editor of a leading legal profession casebook, Legal Ethics (with Deborah Rhode, David Luban, and Nora Engstrom) (7th ed. Foundation Press, 2016). He also edited The Paradox of Professionalism: Lawyers and the Possibility of Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Professor Cummings’s current book, Blue and Green: The Drive for Justice at America’s Port (MIT University Press forthcoming 2017), examines the role of law in a campaign by the labor and environmental movements to transform the trucking industry at the port of Los Angeles. Tracing the history of struggle in an invisible industry at the epicenter of the global supply chain, the book shows how the campaign aimed to improve working conditions for over 10,000 low-income, mostly immigrant truck drivers, while improving air quality in poor communities nearby. The story, Cummings argues, teaches us much about the future of work and the environment on the edge of the global economy, and about the use of law as a tool of social movement-led local reform. Professor Cummings is also currently co-Principal Investigator of a National Science Foundation funded study (with Richard Abel and Catherine Albiston), which examines the factors causing law students to enter and persevere in public interest careers.

Before joining the UCLA faculty in 2002, Professor Cummings clerked for Judge A. Wallace Tashima on the Ninth Circuit, and James Moran on the district court in Chicago. He began his legal career in Los Angeles building economic opportunity in low-income communities.  In 1998, after clerking in Chicago, he was awarded a Skadden Fellowship to work in the Community Development Project at Public Counsel in Los Angeles, where he provided transactional legal assistance to nonprofit organizations and small businesses engaged in community revitalization efforts.

At UCLA, Professor Cummings’s research is focused on economic development, law and social movements, and the legal profession. Key works include: “The Social Movement Turn in Law,” Law & Social Inquiry (forthcoming 2017); Preemptive Strike: Law in the Campaign for Clean Trucks, 4 UC Irvine Law Review 939 (2014); “Privatizing Public Interest Law, 25 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 1 (2012); “The Internationalization of Public Interest Law,” 57 Duke Law Journal 891 (2008); “The Politics of Pro Bono,” 52 UCLA Law Review 1 (2004); and “Community Economic Development as Progressive Politics: Toward a Grassroots Movement for Economic Justice,” 54 Stanford Law Review 399 (2001).