Category Archives: Legal Academia

Personal Thanks to Marc-Tizoc Gonzalez

I just wanted to give a personal and public thank you to Marc-Tizoc Gonzalez for his leadership of the AALS Poverty Section this year; for his organization in the section’s main panel today and for finding an excuse to highlight The Poverty Canon yesterday.  Even though I am incapable of his level of constant sincerity and concerned approach to everything (my mind seems to brim over with snide comments or jokes), it is great to get to watch Marc-Tizoc Gonzalez in action, it is a reminder that I could potentially be a better person.  So thanks for your leadership and behavior modeling.  =)

News Article: “Bringing Together Medical and Law Students to Help Disadvantaged Residents in DC”

News Article: “Bringing Together Medical and Law Students to Help Disadvantaged Residents in DC,” Georgetown University Medical Center, Nov. 22, 2016.

News Article: “Law School Debt Rankings – Law Schools with the Highest Debt”

News Article: Andrew Ostler, “Law School Debt Rankings – Law Schools with the Highest Debt,” JD Journal, Nov. 22, 2016.

News Article: “How the LSAT Destroys Socioeconomic Diversity”

News Article: Caroline Kitchener, “How the LSAT Destroys Socioeconomic Diversity,” The Atlantic, Oct. 18, 2016.

Article: “‘Just Another Little Black Boy from the South Side of Chicago’: Overcoming Obstacles and Breaking Down Barriers to Improve Diversity in the Law Professoriate”

Article: Michael Z. Green, “‘Just Another Little Black Boy from the South Side of Chicago’: Overcoming Obstacles and Breaking Down Barriers to Improve Diversity in the Law Professoriate,” 31 Colum. J. Gender & L. 135 (2015).

As I reflected on my personal experience to help address the persistence of discrimination in legal academia, I chose to focus on five areas of discussion for the open mic portion of the program held at the Association of American Law Schools Cross-Cutting Program, “The More Things Change…: Exploring Solutions to Persistent Discrimination in Legal Academia,” held on January 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. First, I decided to address my personal development as an only child and male in a family of mostly black women struggling through the socioeconomic challenges of being poor and black. To add to that predicament and the narrative discussing it, I lived and grew up in one of this country’s most racially segregated cities in a community permeated with deadly criminal activities and hard core gangs. As an elementary school student, I lived on a block where people were stabbed, beaten, and killed. I saw people robbed and someone attempted to rob. me at knifepoint in a violent confrontation. And those experiences still shape me today.

Second, I decided to reflect on how core parental dedication helped to make sure that despite those surroundings I would be given a foundation to recognize that I could succeed and transcend the demoralizing pitfalls being observed on a daily basis in my neighborhood. Third, I must highlight how a lack of resources to adequately guide choices limits the pipeline possibilities even for those few like me who have the abilities to go forward. This discussion involves a lack of knowledge and financial support to even consider an Ivy League education and its benefits despite having the academic qualifications as a National Merit Finalist in high school. It also involves a discussion of being pushed to pursue a career in engineering when further reflection might have suggested development of other educational interests leading to a more traditional path in the law.

Fourth, I have to bring forward my experience in recovering from a somewhat ill-advised engineering educational focus by going to law school which culminates with me obtaining a position in the academy as a law professor despite not having Ivy League credentials. The most important part of this discussion must include the support and the validation I received in my quest to join the professoriate that I gained by becoming a Hastie Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Finally, as an African American male who practiced employment discrimination law, worked at large law firms, a boutique, and a union law firm, and who now teaches and writes about issues of race and workplace discrimination, I believe that my personal experience adds a unique perspective especially given the dearth of African American male law professors who teach and write in an area of law so important to African American males.

However, given the three minute timeframe during the actual presentation I only discussed the first two areas of focus: 1) the initial aspect of growing up in the Englewood neighborhood; and 2) how important parental involvement and activism was in pushing me forward despite the burdens of my surroundings. At the end of my presentation, I couched that discussion by asserting why I believed my story highlights how the lack of black male law professors who teach workplace law and discrimination supports the overall narrative of ongoing discrimination in the academy. The presentation and this Article reflect what it meant for me growing up under certain circumstances that presented barriers to becoming a law professor, and how that initial experience as shown by my personal narrative further indicates why discrimination in the academy continues.

Job Announcement: “Executive Director for UCLA Law School Office of Public Interest Programs”

UCLA Law School is hiring a new ED for our Office of Public Interest Programs. Broad responsibilities include our specialization in public interest law & policy, student pro bono initiatives, supporting public interest career development, and more. Announcement attached and linked here: https://recruit.apo.ucla.edu/apply/JPF02706.

Call for Papers: Centre for Ethics and Poverty Research of the University of Salzburg on “2017 Salzburg Conference in Interdisciplinary Poverty Research, Focus Theme: Religion and Poverty”

Call for Papers: Centre for Ethics and Poverty Research of the University of Salzburg on “2017 Salzburg Conference in Interdisciplinary Poverty Research, Focus Theme: Religion and Poverty,” Sept. 21-22, 2017.

The Centre for Ethics and Poverty Research of the University of Salzburg happily announces the call for papers for its 2017 Salzburg Conference in Interdisciplinary Poverty Research. The focus theme of the conference will be religion and poverty. …

The Organizing Committee invites submissions of proposals for single papers and thematic panels in all areas of poverty research but special attention will be given to those concerned with the 2017 focus theme of religion and poverty.

Possible topics [sic] for the general theme sessions are, among others, current trends in poverty, inequality and social exclusion, poverty trends of different groups (minorities, age, gender, disability, unemployment), analysis of the economic, social and cultural processes underlying poverty, the effects of poverty on health, well-being, education, and inclusion, conceptualizations of poverty, methodologies of poverty research, the effectiveness of poverty alleviation measures and policy responses, and research on safety nets and welfare.

Possible topics for the focus theme sessions are, among others, the relation of religion and poverty and inequality in different states and world regions, religion as a factor in development, faith-based organisations and poverty alleviation, extent and causes of poverty and social exclusion of religious groups and minorities, religious perspectives on poverty, and theological responses to poverty and inequality.

Please submit abstracts for single papers and panels via the submission form on the conference homepage. In case that you encounter difficulties using this form, please contact the organizers via e-mail.

The deadline for submitting abstracts for single papers and panels is 31 March 2017. Decisions will be communicated until 30 April 2017.

Contact Info: 

Gottfried Schweiger, Centre for Ethics and Poverty Research, University of Salzburg

Article: “Lessons Learned from Ferguson: Ending Abusive Collection of Criminal Justice Debt”

Article: Neil L. Sobol, “Lessons Learned from Ferguson: Ending Abusive Collection of Criminal Justice Debt,” 15 U. Md. L.J. Race Relig. Gender & Class 293 (2015).

On March 4, 2015, the Department of Justice released its scathing report of the Ferguson Police Department calling for “an entire reorientation of law enforcement in Ferguson” and demanding that Ferguson “replace revenue-driven policing with a system grounded in the principles of community policing and police legitimacy, in which people are equally protected and treated with compassion, regardless of race.” Unfortunately, abusive collection of criminal justice debt is not limited to Ferguson. This Article, prepared for a discussion group at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools conference in July 2015, identifies the key findings in the Department of Justice’s report and discusses the major points to be learned from the allegations in Ferguson. The lessons learned from Ferguson should be a guide to other municipalities that are or may be on the brink of developing similar abusive collection practices.

New Article: “When Interests Converge: An Access-to-Justice Mission for Law Schools”

New Article: Raymond H. Brescia, “When Interests Converge: An Access-to-Justice Mission for Law Schools,” Geo. J. on Poverty L. & Pol’y (forthcoming).

In recent years, law schools have faced a crisis brought on by the external forces of technology, automation, and legal process outsourcing that has translated into poor job prospects for their graduates, and, in turn, a diminution in the number of students interested in attending law schools. Such external phenomena are joined by internal critiques of law schools: that they have failed to educate their students adequately for the practice of law and have adopted dubious strategies without a defining mission, all at a time when the market for legal services seems to be changing, perhaps dramatically. Paradoxically, while graduates face diminished job prospects, there is still a vast justice gap: the inability of millions of Americans to obtain legal assistance when facing a legal problem. There is thus an interest convergence between those who might want access to a lawyer and the law schools that strive to educate the next generation of lawyers and the ones after that. This Article uses this interest convergence — and the late Derrick Bell’s “Interest Convergence Theory” as a lens through which to view it — as an opportunity for law schools to retool their missions to confront the access-to-justice crisis facing many Americans. It argues that law schools should embrace an access-to-justice component to their missions to help increase demand for legal services, re-establish the value of legal assistance to the community, restore the importance of the legal profession in preserving and extending societally important rights and interests, and improve the demand for legal education.

 

Article: “Law and Macroeconomics: The Law and Economics of Recessions”

New Article: Yair Listoken, “Law and Microeconomics: The Law and Economics of Recessions,” Yale Law School Public Research Paper (Sept. 2016).

In this Article, I offer a macroeconomic perspective on law that reshapes the microeconomic perspective that currently dominates law and economics. I argue that 1. The economy works one way in ordinary economic conditions, in which supply capacity determines output, and a different way in deep recessions, in which demand for spending determines output. 2. Because the economy functions differently in deep recessions than in ordinary times, a law causes one set of effects in deep recessions and a different set of effects at other times. 3. Because the same law has different effects at different times, law should be different in deep recessions than in other times. Specifically, law should do more to promote spending in deep recessions than in ordinary economic conditions. Because the stakes of deep recessions are so high (tens of trillions of dollars in lost output, countless lives impaired, and political upheaval), I argue that the (significant) costs associated with introducing macroeconomics into law are worth bearing.