Food-Stamp Use Starting to Fall – WSJ

Food-Stamp Use Starting to Fall – WSJ.

Op-Ed: “Help Families From Day 1″

Father Son Portrait.  Copyright 2014.

Father Son Portrait. Copyright 2014.

Op-Ed: Clare Huntington, Help Families From Day 1, N.Y. Times, Sep. 2, 2014.  

Good op-ed and this photo is only being used because I could not find my photo of Stapleton!

New Article: “Titles of Nobility: Poverty, Immigration, and Property in a Free and Democratic Society”

New Article: Joseph W. Singer, Titles of Nobility:  Poverty, Immigration, and Property in a Free  and Democratic Society, 1 J. L. Property & Soc’y 1 (2014).  This article is based on a keynote Singer gave at the 2013 AALS Conference on Poverty, Immigration, and Property.  It was a very good speech.  =)

New Article: “Developing Capabilities, Not Entrepreneurs: A New Theory for Community Economic Development”

New Article: Rashmi Dyal-Chand & James V. Rowan, Developing Capabilities, Not Entrepreneurs: A New Theory for Community Economic Development, 42 Hofstra L. Rev. 839 (2014).  Abstract below:

This Article presents a contemporary and compelling American context in which entrepreneurship is not a good solution. Despite the enormous potential that entrepreneurship seems to hold for community economic development, it has thus far failed as a framework for widespread and reliable local economic development and poverty alleviation. The reasons for this failure are grounded both in theory and empirical data. This Article takes up the theoretical question. It examines why entrepreneurship theory is a weak foundation for the work of community economic development practitioners. Arguing that the important work of these practitioners is best understood and measured using a theory grounded in poverty alleviation, this Article offers a modified version of the capabilities approach first developed by Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen. By relying on a theory that broadly conceptualizes poverty and social exclusion, community economic development practitioners can better evaluate the work that they are already doing. More importantly, the theory proposed here can and should guide practitioners to make straightforward changes with the potential for quite positive gains.

New Article: “Federalism and Municipal Innovation: Lessons from the Fight Against Vacant Properties”

New Article: Benton C. Martin, Federalism and Municipal Innovation: Lessons from the Fight Against Vacant Properties, 46 The Urban Lawyer 361 (2014).  Abstract below:

Cities possess a far greater ability to be trailblazers on a national scale than local officials may imagine. Realizing this, city advocates continue to call for renewed recognition by state and federal officials of the benefits of creative local problem-solving. The goal is admirable but warrants caution. The key to successful local initiatives lies not in woolgathering about cooperation with other levels of government but in identifying potential conflicts and using hard work and political savvy to build constituencies and head off objections. To demonstrate that point, this Article examines the legal status of local governments and recent efforts to regulate vacant property through land banking and registration ordinances.

Call-for-Papers: Law and Society Annual Conference 2015

Seattle_logo_250_tmThe Law and Society Annual Conference will be held on May 28-31, 2015 in Seattle and the call-for-papers deadline is Oct. 15, 2014.  More information can be found here.  

The conference usually has many poverty related papers/panels.  

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. 

A New Reason to Question the Official Unemployment Rate –

A New Reason to Question the Official Unemployment Rate –

Generation Later, Poor Are Still Rare at Elite Colleges –

Generation Later, Poor Are Still Rare at Elite Colleges –

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.