Category Archives: Legal Academia

Op-Ed: How Poor Are the Poor? –

How Poor Are the Poor? – [which discusses the recent article by Jencks on the War on Poverty].

Op-Ed: A Political Crackdown at University of North Carolina – The New Yorker

Op-Ed: A Political Crackdown at University of North Carolina – The New Yorker.  [More on UNC from Jed Purdy.]

Op-Ed: Law schools are in a death spiral. Maybe now they’ll finally change. – The Washington Post

Law schools are in a death spiral. Maybe now they’ll finally change. – The Washington Post.

As an aside but connected with this op-ed, I think it is worth noting that choices made about quality education often can conflict with affordable education (and here, I am focusing on education, not scholarship).  I also think that given the real significance that rankings or at least relative position as understood by employers can have for students in a tough job market just as it is wrong to overly emphasize rankings, it is also wrong to under-emphasize or downplay them.  Student routinely don’t like the grading system because it fails to capture their full effort or understanding, yet the system is largely in place.  Similarly, though schools and some faculty, particularly at schools whose rankings have declined,  like to critique the rankings or treat them as insignificant; like them or not, they matter, esp. to current students and recent alums.  It is only from a position of relative security–such as tenure or senior administration–that a position that they should be ignored makes sense.

Possibly of interest to professors: “Substance Abuse & Mental Health Toolkit”

Possibly of interest to professors: ABA, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Toolkit (2015).

Update on the poverty center at UNC . . . It’s Final: UNC Board of Governors Votes To Close Academic Centers | WUNC

It’s Final: UNC Board of Governors Votes To Close Academic Centers | WUNC.

I do think this is a black mark on UNC.  For years the poverty center at UNC was one of very few such centers based at a law school and (at least in my mind) was a noteworthy strength of the school.

2015 Poverty Guidelines

Here: 2015 Poverty Guidelines.

Poverty Law Syllabi (Jan 2015)

Below are some new and some more dated Poverty Law Syllabi.  Another source of ideas is the syllabi bank (mainly of non-law classes) on the National Poverty Center’s website.

Possible Tool for Looking at Poverty Measures: Poverty Calculator

Poverty Calculator [allows users to select what they think should be included and excluded from income and then generate info on poverty demographics].

-Thanks to Francine Lipman for the heads up on this resource which can help understand poverty measures.

AALS Poverty Section Service Trip during the Annual Meeting, Jan. 5th in Washington, DC.

From the organizer of the service project of the Poverty Law and Pro Bono & Public Service Opportunities sections:

For those of you planning to attend the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. in January, I hope you’ll consider registering to participate in the service project that the Poverty Law and Pro Bono & Public Service Opportunities sections are co-sponsoring at Food and Friends.  Food and Friends is a local organization that prepares and delivers specialized meals and groceries and offers nutritional counseling for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-challenging illnesses.  More information about Food and Friends is available here:

Participants will prepare, portion, or package food, pack groceries, or assemble meal and grocery packages for other volunteers to deliver to Food and Friends clients throughout the District.  The organization has a really nice facility and offers a warm welcome and a well-organized, engaged experience for volunteers.

The project will be held on Monday, January 5 from 8:30am to 12:30pm.  A bus will board outside of the front lobby entrance of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel at 8:15am and depart at 8:30, and will return participants to the hotel by 12:30pm.  There is no additional charge to participate in the project.

The project can accommodate a maximum of 25 volunteers.  I hope that many of you will be among them!

New-ish Article: “Addressing the Foreclosure Crisis Through Law School Clinics”

New Article: Nathalie Martin & Max Weinstein, Addressing the Foreclosure Crisis Through Law School Clinics, 20 Geo. J. Poverty Law & Pol’y 531 (2013).  Abstract below:

Since the 2008 financial crisis, unprecedented numbers of homes have been lost to foreclosure in the United States, all while public funds for free or reduced fee legal representation in some communities have all but disappeared. This means that most homeowners in foreclosure are unable to find lawyers to represent them. At the same time, clinical legal education, especially in subjects related to business and commercial law, is on the rise. This convergence offers a unique opportunity for law school clinics to give students valuable training in both litigation and financial law and also help fill the deep need for legal representation by homeowners in foreclosure. Each of us has experience representing homeowners in foreclosure, Max at Harvard Law School in the Predatory Lending and Consumer Protection Clinic, and Nathalie in the University of New Mexico School of Law’s Business and Tax Clinic.

In this Article, we discuss our experiences and offer advice and insights for clinics considering taking cases of this kind. Part I provides a very brief overview of the conditions that led to the financial crisis, a description of the extent of the problem, and a few ways clinical law programs can help. Part II discusses the practical and philosophical reasons why law school clinics play such a pivotal role in stemming the effects of the crisis on homeowners, through examples of cases litigated in Max’s clinic. Part Ill attempts to give readers a few of the basic tools they need to add this practice to their clinics for the benefit of individual homeowners and their communities.