Law, Lawyering and Social Movements

Course Description

This course will introduce students to the concept of social change in relation to law and public lawyering. The law can be an agent for change and also an impediment. It is a catalyst for change but also creates opportunity for backlash. Law can intend social progress only to inspire a new set of social problems. And sometimes material change is simply not the intended objective. In such instances symbolic laws may actually undermine progress in everyday life. This class will attend to these questions and others to greater appreciate the relationship between law and social change.

Specifically, the course will examine the role of law and cause lawyering in social movements that include the women’s movements, civil rights, Black Lives Matters, LGBTQIA, climate change, Dreamers and immigration more generally. The study of these movements will occur through the lens of critical race theory, critical legal studies, queer theory, intersectionality and the new realism.

The class will examine strategies deployed by advocate and activist lawyers and consider alternative approaches that in hindsight may have helped secure more long lasting outcomes.

Along the way, students will experience some of the trials and tribulations along the path to creating real change in a social world that sorely needs it.

Current and Previous Instructors

Key to Codes in Course Descriptions

P: Prerequisite
C: Prerequisite or Concurrent Requirement
R: Recommended Prior or Concurrent Course