Category Archives: Legal Academia

Slides for Class – for those teaching from the Brodie et al. textbook.

Quick note: for those teaching poverty law from the Brodie et al. textbook, I am happy to share the powerpoint slides that I am using this semester with anyone who wants them; just send me an email.  -E.R. 

Pilot Study Preliminary Report: “Got Clean Slate? New Study Suggests that Criminal Record Clearing May Increase Earnings”

Pilot Study Preliminary Report: Jeffrey Selbin & Justin McCrary, Got Clean Slate?  New Study Suggests that Criminal Record Clearing May Increase Earnings, SSRN Aug. 2014.  Abstract below: 

The more staggering impacts of the decades-long wars on crime and drugs are well-known. Almost seven million Americans – one in 35 adults – are incarcerated or under correctional supervision (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2013). As many as one in four adult Americans has a criminal record, mostly for arrests and misdemeanors (NELP, 2011). By age 23, almost half of all African American men, more than a third of white men, and almost one in eight women have been arrested (Brame, et al., 2014). Arrest, conviction and incarceration records create collateral consequences that too often serve as a lifelong obstacle to employment, education, housing, public benefits and civic participation (National Institute of Justice, 2013).

Perhaps spurred by these disturbing trends, public defender offices, civil legal aid providers and law school clinics have established “clean slate” programs to help people avail themselves of criminal record clearing remedies. Studies consistently find that people with criminal records have dramatically reduced job prospects and income. However, until now we have had only anecdotal evidence that clean slate programs improve employment outcomes or earnings for people with criminal records. Gainful employment is critical to successful reentry for the tens of millions of Americans with a criminal record because it has the potential to reduce recidivism and related social and economic consequences for individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities.

Through a retrospective study of clients served by the East Bay Community Law Center’s Clean Slate Clinic, we analyzed the impact of obtaining criminal record remedies on their subsequent earnings. To our knowledge, this study is the first quantitative assessment of whether clean slate programs improve reported earnings. Through econometric techniques to control for the effects of changes in the larger economy on earnings, we can report two preliminary findings: 

(1) People with criminal records seek clean slate legal remedies after a prolonged period of declining earnings. This finding has implications for the delivery of clean slate legal services to people with criminal records, including targeting earlier intervention to help prevent deteriorating economic circumstances.

(2) Evidence suggests that the clean slate legal intervention stems the decline in earnings and may even boost earnings. It is too early to tell if the boost is significant and sustained, but halting the decline in earnings suggests that the intervention makes a meaningful difference in people’s lives and is a key component of an effective community reentry strategy.

 

Thoughts on Transferring for Law Students

This blog post is aimed largely at law students, not at law professors.  But I have felt I should say something about the topic of law student transfers for some time, if for no other reason than so that I can point them somewhere.  My students almost inevitably discover I was a transfer student myself (Georgetown to Harvard) so I get inundated with emails that run something like this:

                Student: “Can we meet sometime to talk about something not related to Property Law?”

                Ezra: “Yes.”

Then they come to my office and immediately want to close the door to talk about a “sensitive topic.”  If this weren’t my first time, my nervousness would shoot way up, but having heard the spiel before, I know the next line is, “I’m thinking about transferring.” 

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Let Them Eat Cash – NYTimes.com

Let Them Eat Cash – NYTimes.com.  (Could be good as an assignment for a class.)

Foreclosure in Detroit: 43,634 Challenges to a City’s Revival – NYTimes.com

Foreclosure in Detroit: 43,634 Challenges to a City’s Revival – NYTimes.com.  Pretty cool — and depressing — graphic.  Would be good for class.

Teacher’s Manual for Brodie et al., Poverty Law, Policy, and Practice (2014) now available

Poverty Law CoverFor those adopting or thinking about adopting Poverty Law, Policy, and Practice (2014), the chapter-by-chapter teacher’s manual is now available on the publisher’s website under “Professor Materials.”    To get access to the teacher’s manual, feel free to email any of us (Juliet Brodie, Clare Pastore, Ezra Rosser, and Jeffrey Selbin) or contact your Aspen representative.   The front matter is here: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2391540.  We are also happy to discuss the book and teaching poverty law with anyone who is considering the book and/or the class.  Our hope is that the book (and the teacher’s manual) will be of use and will help more schools and  professors offer the class.

New Article: “What it means to be a lawyer in these uncertain times: some thoughts on ethical participation in the legal education industry”

New Article: Susan Carle, What It Means to be a Lawyer in These Uncertain Times: Some Thoughts on Ethical Participation in the Legal Education Industry, 47 Akron L. Rev. 223 (2014).

From the Clinical Law Prof Blog: “But How Do I Teach…?: Poverty”

From the Clinical Law Prof Blog: Carrie Hagan, “But How Do I Teach…?: Poverty,” April. 22, 2014.

Call-for-Papers, AALS Poverty Law Section: “Working But Poor: Understanding and Confronting the Working Poor Phenomenon”

The AALS Section on Poverty Law will sponsor a session at the 2015 AALS Annual Meeting. The title of the program is Working But Poor: Understanding and Confronting the Working Poor Phenomenon. In collaboration with the Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law, the Section seeks papers for publication and presentation.  The deadline for submissions is August 8, 2014. See this link for additional information: AALS Poverty Section Call for Papers 2015 Program.

UNC’s Center on Poverty, Work & Opportunity presents a High School Poverty Curriculum

Though framed as a High School Poverty Curriculum, the links and articles included are good and could be mined for law school courses as well or for non-poverty law classes that still want to have a session on poverty.