Fall 2014 Course Schedule

Public Interest Practice (Cancelled) (LAW-893-001)


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This is a course about the concept and evolution of what is most broadly referred to as “public interest” law and practice; the broad themes that practice in this area raises – themes about race, gender, class, wealth, etc.; and some of the significant cross-cutting issues in this area of practice, such as funding and scarcity of resources, competing delivery models, third party interference or resistance to the work, and client voice or autonomy within a cause. The course will examine 1) who public interest lawyers were, at the origins of the movement, and who they are today; 2) what public interest lawyers do; and 3) challenges for public interest lawyering, with particular focus on ethical dilemmas, the globalization of law, and new directions in the field. The course will examine international human rights advocacy as well as domestic advocacy, with an eye toward preparing students for careers in the field of public interest practice, whether here or abroad. The course is open to second and third year JD students as well as LLM students. Readings will be selections from two primary sources: Chen and Cummings, Public Interest Lawyering: A Contemporary Perspective (2013), and stories from Foundation Press’s Stories Series, as assigned. These stories include topics such as the following, told through particularly noteworthy cases or crises: human rights advocacy; international law; civil rights; famous trials; and/or race stories. Students will have weekly assignments and will complete their work in the course with either (1) a publication-worthy paper of at least 20 pages, including sourcing footnotes (or at least 30 pages for Upper Legal Writing credit, subject to the approval by the professor; or (2) work in self-selecting pairs or groups to develop an advocacy campaign as their final project. Students will meet with the professor, individually or in groups, at least twice during the semester during office hours to discuss their progress on option (1) or (2) above.

Textbooks and Other Materials

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First Class Readings

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