Spring 2021 Course Schedule

Movement Lawyering (Compressed) (LAW-795ML-001)
Tasnim Motala

Meets: 10:00 AM - 11:50 AM ( F)

Enrolled: 19 / Limit: 22

Administrator Access


This course meets on the following Fridays: 1/15, 1/22, 1/29, 2/5, 2/12, 2/19, 2/26.


Movement lawyers, also described as community lawyers or social justice lawyers, provide legal support to social movements. Attorneys who identify as movement lawyers believe that their role is to take the backseat to directly impacted communities and help these communities build power through legal, political, and social strategies to challenge and eradicate systems of inequality. This class will introduce students to the different avenues and theories movement lawyers can utilize to conceptualize and achieve social change. Through weekly readings and discussion, we will explore past, present, and future movement lawyering strategies and concepts, including aspects of the civil rights movement, prison abolition, narrative-building, client-centered advocacy, and critical race theory. We will examine the ways social justice lawyers engage with communities, clients, and political causes, as well as the ethical issues that may arise when advocating on behalf of class members with divergent interests. We will discuss that although the law can serve as an effective tool for change, it has its limitations. We will use interactive exercises to grapple with ethical quandaries of community lawyering. This course will help us recognize the need for movement lawyers to work in partnership with communities, organizers, and policymakers to achieve justice. Depending on scheduling and availability, this course will incorporate guest speakers engaged in movement lawyering, community organizing, and public policy. The goal of this course is to provide students with a deeper knowledge of social justice lawyering, and an understanding of how to recognize the law’s limitations as a singular tool to achieve social, political, economic, and racial equality.

Textbooks and Other Materials

The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.

First Class Readings

Not available at this time.


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