Social Justice Impact Litigation: Issues and Strategies


Course Code:
LAW 7040
Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail


(Formerly Law 572) This seminar will explore strategic and legal issues related to using law reform and social justice litigation to advance the constitutional and civil rights of vulnerable communities. The course will be informed by the instructor's three decades of experience litigating class action and appellate cases, including in the Supreme Court, on behalf of immigrants and other civil rights plaintiffs as the founder and former director of the ACLU national Immigrants' Rights Project as well as his recent experience serving in the Obama administration. We will consider foundational legal principles and practical problems. Among the issues that may be included are selecting and using test cases; strategic pleading; class action problems; the role of amicus briefs; suits for damages versus injunctive relief; standing and mootness; ethical problems; settlement strategies; coalition litigation; use of public advocacy and media; the effect of lawsuits on policymakers and public officials; the role of government and agency lawyers, and litigation to achieve legislative change. Guest speakers will be invited. The seminar is not open to 1L students. Enrollment is limited. Grading will be based on class participation and written work of at least 18 pages. Students will be required to submit a series of reflections or analytical pieces responding to seminar issues and guest speakers. A very limited number of students may be approved for Research (R) credit for writing a substantial research paper on an approved topic if the instructor's consent is obtained prior to the second class. After the term begins, students approved for R credit will transfer from section (01) into section (02). Elements used in grading: Class participation (50%) and written submissions (50%). CONSENT APPLICATION: To apply for this course, students must complete and submit a Consent Application Form available on the SLS website (Click Courses at the bottom of the homepage and then click Consent of Instructor Forms). See Consent Application Form for instructions and submission deadline.

Future Offerings

2016-2017 Spring

Social Justice Impact Litigation: Issues and Strategies LAW 7040 Section 01 Class #31964

  • 2 Units
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent 16

Social Justice Impact Litigation: Issues and Strategies LAW 7040 Section 02 Class #31965

  • 2 Units
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent

Notes: R -Research Requirement for Law Degree.

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