abdcefjj wrote:For anyone interested in social justice lawyering/PI, http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2425&context=llr is a great overview of some of the frustrations both with the term "public-interest," which some (and being the Left-y I am, I'm inclined to agree) feel is WAY too inclusive, and also with some of the ways that legal education forces prospective social justice lawyers to "adopt
a professional identity that unduly limits their way of envisioning and experiencing law and lawyering to something that, more often than not, is divorced from social justice."
It's good stuff and something I've been thinking about ever since I decided to apply to law school. In the midst of adjusting to "thinking like a lawyer" (whatever that means) , how will I handle receiving an education where many of the (white, straight, middle-class) professors will be teaching us things based on tacit assumptions (that law itself is neutral, that lawyering is objective, that it is possible to separate legal issues from their cultural contexts, that emotionality and rationality are opposed to each other) that I do not necessarily hold? How will I handle having a very different internship/job search schedule when all my firm-bound friends float through OCI (lol I know they don't float they work their asses, off, but still)? One thing I'm thinking about doing is developing my own "alternative syllabus" of texts to read before law school, like the radical version of One L or Getting to Maybe, lol. Or maybe there is something like that already out there? I'm sure there is, just don't know what it is.
I'm also debating how much I'll want to call ish out in classes. I've been in predominantly white institutions for so long now that I've kinda given up calling out racism and sexism in many contexts. It's just too exhausting and the payoff is rarely worth it. Part of me wants to just ignore all the racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic BS I'm sure I'll hear in classes and just keep my eyes on the ultimate goal. But then I wonder whether I would be squandering an opportunity to "teach" (that sounds arrogant, but it's kinda the truth sometimes) others about how/why their actions/words are messed up.
Anyway sorry this was kinda long, and totally derailing whatever SEO convo was happening, but I'm just wondering whether any of y'all are thinking about this too. It's really difficult to find threads on TLS that REALLY talk about social justice, as opposed to just "How to work at the ACLU/ land a Skadden Fellowship." I get that part of the reason why that is the case is because this website attracts a very self-selecting group of people (and I'm now one of them so no self-righteousness there, lol), but still. Hot damn. It's kinda scary/frustrating.
which is why I posted this here. where the cool people are at
Good thoughts! Perhaps we should make a separate thread to discuss?
In terms of left lawyering and determining what role, if any, attorneys have in creating true social change, I'd recommend checking out Dean Spade. He's a professor at Seattle University Law School and founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. SRLP provides a suite of services to trans persons; they've created what I think it the first legal clinic doing this work. In light of the Cece McDonald case, I've been quite inspired by Dean's ability to work within the legal framework and aid a population that is desperate for legal assistance, but often overlooked by the legal establishment. As opposed to just theorizing, he's creating change in a tangible way.
Here's a good introduction to Dean.
Did I mention that he tithes much of his $120,000/yr salary?
http://www.enoughenough.org/2009/04/the ... ew-salary/
And his Poverty Law course looks pretty cool. It allows students to both understand poverty and find ways the legal community can contribute in this arena.
http://www.enoughenough.org/2008/10/tea ... verty-law/
I'm not applying until next cycle, but I'd love to hear more on your pre-law reading list. When you mentioned the "radical version of One L," are you referring to Doin' Time on the Farm?