New Article: Improving Outcomes in Child Poverty and Wellness in Appalachia in the “New Normal” Era: Infusing Empathy Into Law

New Article: Jill C. Engle, Improving Outcomes in Child Poverty and Wellness in Appalachia in the “New Normal” Era: Infusing Empathy Into Law, 120 W. Va. L. Rev. (2018).  The article is available for download.



New Article: The Child Welfare and Education Gap

New Article: Eric Chung, The Child Welfare and Education Gap, 36 Yale L. & Pol’y Rev. 365 (2018). Abstract below:

Given the overlapping interests between child welfare and education, one might expect federal laws and policies in these two areas to work in tandem. But in the United States, they have not. With food, nutrition, and early childhood programs among the few exceptions, welfare and education laws have largely been embodied in separate statutes and administered by different agencies. Since their advent and evolution from the 1900s to the present, welfare laws have become increasingly and predominantly concerned with regulating mothers and families, while education laws have become increasingly and predominantly concerned with regulating teachers and schools. Neither area of law has prioritized children as its direct beneficiaries. This Article argues that this misdirected attention is responsible for why these two areas remain disconnected: both welfare and education laws have ignored the immediate needs of children, while focusing instead on regulating the institutions surrounding them. If children were placed at the center of public benefits, the importance of linking adequate child welfare and education systems would become more obvious, as it has been for the food, nutrition, and early childhood programs that buck this trend. After analyzing the gap between these two areas of law, this Article proposes a reconceptualization and unification of child welfare and education laws and policies to better serve socioeconomically disadvantaged children and their families.

New Article: Things Fall Apart: Hard Choices in Public Interest Law

New Article: Anthony Victor Alfieri, Things Fall Apart: Hard Choices in Public Interest Law, 31 Georgetown J. L. Ethics 335 (2018).  Abstract below:

This essay frames the dilemmas of law school clinic and public interest law firm triage decision-making against the backdrop of the current national crisis in access to justice. The essay coincides with a moment of renewed academic interest and resurgent legal activism in inner cities for advocates pursuing law reform campaigns, academics studying social justice movements, and activists organizing low-income communities, especially historically burdened communities of color. The essay proceeds in four parts. Part I briefly traces the history of a community-based law reform campaign recently advanced in Miami and the nettlesome public interest legal ethics questions left in its wake. Part II examines the basic form and content of public interest law triage regimes and the difficult dilemmas of lawyer and law firm triage decision-making in the context of community-based advocacy. Part III considers the dominant norms and practices of the community lawyering movement explicated by the founders of the Community Justice Project, a path breaking Florida public interest law firm and a national leader in the field of social justice. Part IV assesses an alternative set of norms and practices of social justice lawyering deduced from current work on the ethics of movement lawyering.

New Article: Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt: Mitigating the Deleterious Effect of Wage Garnishments on Appalachia’s Low-Wage Workers

New Article: Faith Mullen, Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt: Mitigating the Deleterious Effect of Wage Garnishments on Appalachia’s Low-Wage Workers, 120 W. Va. L. Rev. (2018).  The article is available for download.


New Report: A Guide to Understanding and Addressing Vacant Property

New Report: Rise, Saint Louis University Law Clinic, Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC, A Guide to Understanding and Addressing Vacant Property.

This Guide is intended to help local government officials, neighborhood associations, community-based nonprofits, residents, business owners, and other stakeholders better understand how to work together to use existing tools to address vacant property in the City of St. Louis.

Since 1876, St. Louis has been an independent city, which means that it is not part of any county. Therefore, it operates as both a city and a county. St. Louis is the only city in Missouri that operates its own county offices. This unusual structure means that effectively addressing the vacant property challenge requires coordination not only across City departments, but also across city and county functions.

There are a variety of legal tools and enforcement strategies to address vacancy, and using these tools and strategies effectively requires a coordinated effort from a variety of local government and private actors. Reducing the negative impact of vacancy is like a complex puzzle, requiring coordination and collaboration among the public sector, private stakeholders, and neighborhood leaders to achieve a shared vision.

New Article: Regulating Wage Theft

New Article: Jennifer J. Lee & Annie Smith, Regulating Wage Theft, 94 Wash. L. Rev. (forthcoming) (2019). Abstract below:

Wage theft costs workers billions of dollars each year. At a time when the federal government is rolling back workers’ rights, it is essential to consider how state and local laws can address the problem. As this Article explains, these pernicious practices seemingly continue unabated, despite a recent wave of state and local laws to curtail wage theft.

This Article provides the first comprehensive analysis of state and local anti-wage theft laws. We compiled 130 state and local anti-wage theft laws enacted over the past decade and offer an original typology of the most common anti-wage theft regulatory strategies. Our evaluation of these laws shows that they are unlikely to meaningfully reduce wage theft. Specifically, our typology reveals that many of the most popular anti-wage theft strategies involve authorizing worker complaints, creating or enhancing penalties, or mandating employers to disclose information to workers about their wage-related rights. Lessons learned about these conventional regulatory strategies from other contexts raise serious questions about whether these state and local laws can be successful.

Rather than concede defeat, this Article contends that there are useful insights to be drawn from the typology and analysis. It concludes by recognizing promising regulatory innovations, identifying new collaborative approaches to enhance agency enforcement, and looking beyond regulation to nongovernmental strategies.

New Article: The Perils of Philanthrocapitalism

New Article: Eric Franklin Amarante, The Perils of Philanthrocapitalism, Md. L. Rev. (2018).  Abstract below:

For over a century, philosophers, politicians, and sociologists have bemoaned philanthropy’s inherent antidemocratic, paternalistic, and amateuristic aspects. The antidemocratic nature of philanthropy is self-evident: When a wealthy person determines the best way to address a societal problem without the input of either society at large or the intended beneficiaries of the philanthropy, the result is a deficit of democracy. Philanthropy’s amateurism stems from the illogical belief that wealthy individuals ought to address some of the world’s most complex and intransigent problems simply because they successfully amassed a fortune in the private sector. The paternalism critique focuses on the assumption that many of society’s problems are born out of the personality faults of charity beneficiaries.

Because most philanthropists formed private foundations to conduct their charitable work, the regime that regulates private foundations evolved to mitigate the three aforementioned negatives: antidemocracy, paternalism, and amateurism. More specifically, the law requires private foundations to avoid political activity, spend a certain percentage of funds in a charitable manner, and submit extensive annual reports. In this manner, the legal regime struck a palatable balance between philanthropy’s inherent negative aspects and philanthropy’s obvious positives.

However, the recent trend of philanthropists conducting charity through for-profit vehicles, such as limited liability companies (“LLCs”), effectively bypasses the restrictions placed upon private foundations. This Article will discuss each of the traditional critiques of philanthropy and explore how they are exacerbated when philanthropic efforts are shifted to LLCs. Ultimately, this Article will argue that philanthropy conducted through LLCs will undoubtedly be less democratic, more amateuristic, and more paternalistic than philanthropy conducted through private foundations. This Article will conclude with some thoughts concerning several potential solutions to the problem, including the adjustment of incentives for private foundations and LLCs, imposing a regulatory regime over philanthropic activity, extending existing licensing regimes to apply to certain philanthropic activity, and the potential of a social license to conduct philanthropy.

New Article: Empowering the Poor: Turning De Facto Rights into Collateralized Credit

New Article: Steven L. Schwarcz, Empowering the Poor: Turning De Facto Rights into Collateralized Credit, SSRN Jan 2019. Abstract below:

The shrinking middle class and the widening gap between the rich and the poor threaten social and financial stability. Though sometimes identified as a problem of developing countries, the inability of the poor to use as collateral their de facto rights in property, in order to borrow and start small businesses, impedes upward mobility is nearly all countries. Efforts to solve this problem have failed because they focus on transforming de facto rights into de jure title under property law, which is tightly bound to tradition and protecting vested ownership, and also because some countries have weak or conflicting property-law regimes. Credit, however, is a commercial law concept, and modern commercial law increasingly recognizes important policy goals and realities as a justification for overriding traditional property-law limitations. This Article analyzes why commercial law should allow the poor to use their de facto rights as collateral, thereby empowering them with credit and facilitating a radically new conception of sustainable finance—attracting arm’s length funding, rather than being dependent on limited or unreliable charitable sources.

Call-for-Papers and Conference: Poverty in America: The Past, Present, and Future, Oxford, UK, May 10-11, 2019

Call-for-Papers: Poverty in America: The Past, Present, and Future; Rothermere American Institute; University of Oxford; 10-11 May 2019. Full Details here. Submission deadline of March 1, 2019. 

New Report: Unworkable & Unwise: Conditioning Access to Programs that Ensure a Basic Foundation for Families on Work Requirements

New Report: Kali Grant, Funke Aderonmu, Sophie Khan, Kaustubh Chahande, Casey Goldvale, Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Aileen Carr & Doug Steiger, Unworkable & Unwise: Conditioning Access to Programs that Ensure a Basic Foundation for Families on Work Requirements, Economic Security and Opportunity Initiative (Jan. 2019).

Overview: This working paper outlines the ramifications of taking away Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and housing assistance from those who do not document meeting new work and community engagement requirements. The paper underscores how proposals that take away basic assistance from people who don’t meet work requirements are ill-informed, ineffective, inefficient, and inequitable, while alternative policies would produce far better outcomes.