Category Archives: Social Justice

New Symposium: “American Cities Struggling with Economic Justice Reform”

New Symposium: American Cities Struggling with Economic Justice Reform, 52 Seton Hall L. Rev. (2022). Contained Articles and Comments listed below:



New Article: Ten Ways of Looking at Movement Lawyering

New Article: William P. Quigley, Ten Ways of Looking at Movement Lawyering, 5 How. Hum. & C.R.L. Rev. 23 (2020). Abstract Below:

History shows us that social change comes about when directly impacted people get together and demand justice in social movements. The world needs more lawyers who will partner with and learn alongside the people struggling for justice. That is what movement lawyering is. This is an introduction to Movement Lawyering for those who are just learning about it. And a refresher for those familiar with the idea who want more information.

New Book: An Equal Place

Scott L. Cummings, An Equal Place (2021). Description Below:

An Equal Place is a monumental study of the role of lawyers in the movement to challenge economic inequality in one of America’s most unequal cities: Los Angeles. Breaking with the traditional focus on national civil rights history, the book turns to the stories of contemporary lawyers, on the front lines and behind the scenes, who use law to reshape the meaning of low-wage work in the local economy.

Covering a transformative period of L.A. history, from the 1992 riots to the 2008 recession, Scott Cummings presents an unflinching account of five pivotal campaigns in which lawyers ally with local movements to challenge the abuses of garment sweatshops, the criminalization of day labor, the gentrification of downtown retail, the incursion of Wal-Mart groceries, and the misclassification of port truck drivers.

Through these campaigns, lawyers and activists define the city as a space for redefining work in vital industries transformed by deindustrialization, outsourcing, and immigration. Organizing arises outside of traditional labor law, powered by community-labor and racial justice groups using levers of local government to ultimately change the nature of labor law itself. 

Cummings shows that sophisticated legal strategy — engaging yet extending beyond courts, in which lawyers are equal partners in social movements — is an indispensable part of the effort to make L.A. a more equal place. Challenging accounts of lawyers’ negative impact on movements, Cummings argues that the L.A. campaigns have achieved meaningful reform, while strengthening the position of workers in local politics, through legal innovation. Dissecting the reasons for failure alongside the conditions for success, this groundbreaking book illuminates the crucial role of lawyers in forging a new model of city-building for the twenty-first century.

New Article: Movement Law

New Article: Amna A. Akbar et al., Movement Law, Stanford Law Review, Vol. 73, 2021.

In this Article we make the case for “movement law,” an approach to legal scholarship grounded in solidarity, accountability, and engagement with grassroots organizing and left social movements. In contrast to law and social movements—a field of study that unpacks the relationship between lawyers, legal process, and social change—movement law is a methodology for scholars across substantive areas of expertise to draw on and work alongside social movements. We identify seeds for this method in the work of a growing number of scholars that are organically developing methods for movement law. We make the case that it is essential in this moment of crisis to cogenerate ideas alongside grassroots organizing that aims to transform our political, economic, social landscape.

New Article: The Welfarist Right to Counsel

New Article: Shaun Ossei-Owusu, The Welfarist Right to Counsel, UCLA Law Review (Forthcoming) (Nov. 3, 2020).

The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is typically and often exclusively understood as a criminal procedure protection. From the law school training of attorneys to the legal knowledge imparted to lay people by popular culture, this right is seen as solely within the province of the criminal justice system. This widely held belief is fragmentary and incomplete. Despite its reasonableness, this penal primacy has marred our ability to understand the contours and limitations of indigent defense.

New Article: Civil v. Criminal Legal Aid

New Article: Shaun Ossei-Owusu, Civil v. Criminal Legal Aid, Southern California Law Review (Forthcoming) (posted: Nov. 3, 2020).

The past few decades have highlighted the insidious effects of poverty, particularly for poor people who lack access to legal representation. Accordingly, there have been longstanding calls for “Civil Gideon,” which refers to a right to counsel in civil cases that would address issues tied to housing, public benefits, family issues, and various areas of law that poor people are often disadvantaged by due to their lack of attorneys. This civil right to counsel would complement the analogous criminal right that has been constitutionalized. Notwithstanding the persuasive arguments made for and against Civil Gideon, it is less clear why there is such a sharp distinction between civil and criminal legal aid. This Article re-examines longstanding assumptions about the civil-criminal legal aid divide and highlights some underexamined explanations: the legal profession’s historical implication in this division; courts’ unwillingness to use their inherent powers to appoint counsel; and courts’ enduringly narrow understandings of when poor people should be provided with lawyers. These insights prompt alternative reflections on how to best deliver legal services to poor people.

New Article: Erasing the Thin Blue Line: An Indigenous Proposal

New Article: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Erasing the Thin Blue Line: An Indigenous Proposal, (Aug. 25th, 2020).

My novel claim is that there must be an accounting of how the judiciary has employed the theory of the social contract to dehumanize large swaths of poor persons and people of color. I argue that it is the judiciary, even more so than the legislatures, that has enabled and encouraged the police to engage in deep-seated injustices every single day. I will show that social contract talk is deeply embedded in judicial decision-making and policy articulation in the criminal justice realm.

ClassCrits Workshop Series: Democracy, Social Justice, & the 2020 Election

Workshop #3: Democracy, Social Justice, and the 2020 Election
A roundtable and audience discussion on early reactions to the 2020 federal elections.

When: Saturday, November 14, 2020, from 2:30-4:00p.m. (Eastern Time).  ClassCrits Annual Member meeting at 4:00pm (Eastern Time)

Registration:  Please click here to register. 

(Zoom invitation will be emailed to registered participants.)

The workshop will focus on people’s initial reactions to the impact of the election process and its outcome on various aspects of social life:  the future of democracy, voting rights, workers’ rights, health, the environment, economic, social and racial justice, international relations, immigration policy, promoting a progressive agenda, and other issues facing our society and the world community.  A series of speakers will briefly present their perspectives on these issues, following which there will be an exchange of ideas among the speakers and workshop attendees.  The annual ClassCrits member meeting will follow the workshop.        

Where: Zoom (a Zoom invitation with sign-in information will be emailed to registered participants prior to the workshop)


Thomas Kleven, Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Antonia Eliason, University of Mississippi School of Law


Lua Kamal Yuille, University of Kansas School of Law, The Future of Democracy

Lucy Jewel, University of Tennessee College of Law, Critical Rhetoric and Trump’s Propaganda

Antonia Eliason, University of Mississippi School of Law, Winning the South

Robert Howse, NYU School of Law, International Relations

Diane Uchimiya, Creighton University School of Law, Immigration Policy

Lynn D. Lu, CUNY School of Law, Economic Justice and the Social Safety Net

Rashmi Dyal-Chand, Northeastern University School of Law, Poverty and Economic Development

Tiffany C. Graham, Touro College Law Center, Racial Justice

Diane Frey, San Francisco State University, Workers’ Rights

Nicolas F. Stump, West Virginia University College of Law, The Environment

Registration:  Please click here to register. 

(Zoom invitation will be emailed to registered participants.)

Thank you!

New Article: Mapping the Intellectual Property/Social Justice Frontier

New Article: Peter S. Menell, Mapping the Intellectual Property/Social Justice Frontier, Steven D. Jamar and Lateef Mtima (eds.), Handbook of Intellectual Property and Social Justice: Access, Inclusion, Empowerment, Cambridge Univ. Press, Forthcoming (July 22, 2020).

This chapter explores the interplay of intellectual property and social justice. Part I constructs a philosophical framework for thinking about the many cross-currents between intellectual property and social justice. Part II distinguishes between the internal, largely utilitarian analysis of particular modes of intellectual property protection and the external interplay of intellectual property systems and broader social justice concerns. Part III examines the macro interplay of intellectual property and inequality, gender and racial inclusion, and global justice challenges, highlighting complexities, tensions, and paradoxes. The chapter considers how intellectual property law and policy can be seen not just as an engine of economic progress, but also as an engine of human and cultural flourishing, dignitary values, access, inclusion, and empowerment.