New Article: Alexandra Natapoff, Gideon’s Servants and the Criminalization of Poverty, 12 Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 445 (2015). Abstract below:
In ways that slip beneath the doctrinal radar, public defenders often behave like social workers. They find drug treatment and jobs for their clients, and intervene with landlords and employers. Conversely — and ironically — many civil welfare service providers act increasingly like law enforcement officials. Teachers call the police on their students, while welfare case workers often refer their clients for prosecution. This role-switching — by criminal lawyers and civil servants alike — is a function of the tight connection between criminalization and poverty: poor people tend to get swept up in the criminal system and such encounters tend to make people poor. This nexus is particularly powerful in the world of minor offenses and urban policing in which crime, unemployment, racial segregation, and lack of social infrastructure swirl around in one large, nearly inextricable mass. As a result, criminal justice actors are heavily preoccupied with defendants’ social welfare even as the welfare state routinely treats its clients as presumptive criminals. These hydraulic forces affect every official actor — from police officers to prosecutors to emergency room nurses and public school teachers. But public defenders play a special role. Their multi-faceted service commitments to both criminal and welfarist outcomes reveal deep features of the criminal system itself and its conflicted governance relationship to its most vulnerable constituents.
Director of the Nepantla Program.
Note, I haven’t been posting jobs for recent law graduates but I am happy to if they are sent to me. I just am not looking for them.
Of general (non-poverty law) law school interest: Alexia Brunet Marks & Scott Moss, What Makes a Law Student Succeed or Fail? A Longitudinal Study Correlating Law Student Applicant Data and Law School Outcomes, SSRN. Abstract below:
Despite the rise of “big data” empiricism, law school admission remains heavily impressionistic; admission decisions based on anecdotes about recent students, idiosyncratic preferences for certain majors or jobs, or mainly the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Yet no predictors are well-validated; studies of the LSAT or other factors fail to control for college quality, major, work experience, etc. The lack of evidence of what actually predicts law school success is especially surprising after the 2010s downturn left schools competing for fewer applicants and left potential students less sure of law school as a path to future success. We aim to fill this gap with a two-school, 1400-student, 2005-2012 longitudinal study. After coding non-digitized applicant data, we used multivariate regression analysis to predict law school grades (“LGPA”) from many variables: LSAT; college grades (“UGPA”), quality, and major; UGPA trajectory; employment duration and type (legal, scientific, military, teaching, etc.); college leadership; prior graduate degree; criminal or discipline record; and variable interactions (e.g., high-LSAT/low-UGPA or vice-versa).
Our results include not only new findings about how to balance LSAT and UGPA, but the first findings that college quality, major, work experience, and other traits are significant predictors: (1) controlling for other variables, LSAT predicts more weakly, and UGPA more powerfully, than commonly assumed – and a high-LSAT/low-UGPA profile may predict worse than the opposite; (2) a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) or EAF (economics, accounting, finance) major is a significant plus, akin to 3½-4 extra LSAT points; (3) several years’ work experience is a significant plus, with teaching especially positive and military the weakest; (4) a criminal or disciplinary record is a significant minus, akin to 7½ fewer LSAT points; and (5) long-noted gender disparities seem to have abated, but racial disparities persist. Some predictors were interestingly nonlinear: college quality has decreasing returns; UGPA has increasing returns; a rising UGPA is a plus only for law students right out of college; and 4-9 years of work is a “sweet spot,” with neither 1-3 or 10 years’ work experience significant. Some, such as those with military or science work, have high LGPA variance, indicating a mix of high and low performers requiring close scrutiny. Many traditionally valued traits had no predictive value: typical pre-law majors (political science, history, etc.); legal or public sector work; or college leadership.
These findings can help identify who can outperform overvalued predictors like the LSAT. A key caveat is that statistical models cannot capture certain difficult-to-code key traits: some who project to have weak grades retain appealing lawyering or leadership potential; and many will over- or under-perform any projection. Thus, admissions will always be both art and science – but perhaps with a bit more science.
AALS Section on Poverty Law, Call for Papers for 2016 AALS Annual Meeting.
The AALS Section on Poverty Law is seeking abstracts or drafts of papers to be presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting in New York, NY. This year’s program is entitled “New Directions in Poverty Law,” and it will be held on Friday, January 8, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Program Description: This program will focus on emerging ideas, problems, arguments, and strategies related to poverty law. The field of poverty law encompasses a wide range of legal issues that affect the lives of Americans living in poverty. Much interesting work in this area is being done by academics who may not identify themselves as poverty law scholars, but who are nonetheless writing about issues that inform and intersect with the core concerns of poverty law. This program will provide a forum for discussing some of this scholarship, and for considering the current state of poverty law as a field. Panelists—including one chosen through a call for papers—will present recent works on a variety of topics that relate to poverty law. An open discussion will follow.
Submission Instructions: Eligible law faculty wishing to be considered for the program must submit an abstract or draft paper by September 1, 2015, to Jason Parkin, Chair-Elect of the Section on Poverty Law, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Section encourages submissions from pre-tenured and recently tenured scholars, as well as scholars whose work may not be widely known to members of the Poverty Section. All panelists, including speakers selected from this call for papers, are responsible for paying their own Annual Meeting registration fee and travel expenses.
New Article: Ertharin Cousin, The Giving Tree: A Modern-Day Parable of Mutual Responsibility, 113 Mich. L. Rev. 767 (2015) [about the book and international aid].
New Article: Tonya L. Brito, David J. Pate, Jr. & Jia-Hui Stefanie Wong, “I Do for My Kids”: Negotiating Race and Racial Inequality in Family Court, 83 Fordham L. Rev. 3027 (2015).