237 Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering

This course examines Professional Responsibility as it applies to representing poor and/or underrepresented clients (in criminal and civil cases), as well as to lawyering for social justice causes, through impact litigation and other means. We will explore the substantive law of Professional Responsibility, focusing on ethical challenges frequently encountered in social justice representation (e.g., representing clients who are uneducated or culturally different than the attorney, practicing with limited resources in an environment of many unmet legal needs, defining who the client is when representing a group or cause, and the tensions created when the requirements of Professional Responsibility are at odds with the attorney's personal morality or vision of social justice).  While we will work mostly from the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, required reading will also include scholarship on the unique ethical and moral dilemmas of social justice lawyers, and students will be encouraged to think critically about the rules of Professional Responsibility and their application in social justice contexts.  Throughout the course, we will consider and practice the lawyering skills needed to ethically represent clients and social causes, through in-class resolution of hypotheticals and experiential learning, such as simulations or role-playing.   Several practicing, social-justice attorneys will join us to guest-speak. Grades will be based on writing assignments, quizzes, and class participation; there will not be a final exam.

Course Frequency*
Course Areas of Practice

Sections

Spring 2017
2017
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

237.01 2
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation
S. Hannah Demeritt Th 10:30-12:20 PM 4000

This course examines Professional Responsibility as it applies to representing poor and/or underrepresented clients (in criminal and civil cases), as well as to lawyering for social justice causes, through impact litigation and other means. We will explore the substantive law of Professional Responsibility, focusing on ethical challenges frequently encountered in social justice representation (e.g., representing clients who are uneducated or culturally different than the attorney, practicing with limited resources in an environment of many unmet legal needs, defining who the client is when representing a group or cause, and the tensions created when the requirements of Professional Responsibility are at odds with the attorney's personal morality or vision of social justice).  While we will work mostly from the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, required reading will also include scholarship on the unique ethical and moral dilemmas of social justice lawyers, and students will be encouraged to think critically about the rules of Professional Responsibility and their application in social justice contexts.  Throughout the course, we will consider and practice the lawyering skills needed to ethically represent clients and social causes, through in-class resolution of hypotheticals and experiential learning, such as simulations or role-playing.   Several practicing, social-justice attorneys will join us to guest-speak. Grades will be based on writing assignments, quizzes, and class participation; there will not be a final exam.

Syllabus: File 237.02.Spring2017-syllabus.docx

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None
2015
Fall 2015
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

237.01 2 S. Hannah Demeritt Th 3:45-5:35 PM Room 3041
This course examines Professional Responsibility as it applies to representing poor and/or underrepresented clients (in criminal and civil cases), as well as to lawyering for social justice causes, through impact litigation and other means. We will explore the substantive law of Professional Responsibility, focusing on ethical challenges frequently encountered in social justice representation (e.g., representing clients who are uneducated or culturally different than the attorney, practicing with limited resources in an environment of many unmet legal needs, defining who the client is when representing a group or cause, and the tensions created when the requirements of Professional Responsibility are at odds with the attorney's personal morality or vision of social justice).  While we will work mostly from the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, required reading will also include scholarship on the unique ethical and moral dilemmas of social justice lawyers, and students will be encouraged to think critically about the rules of Professional Responsibility and their application in social justice contexts.  Throughout the course, we will consider and practice the lawyering skills needed to ethically represent clients and social causes, through in-class resolution of hypotheticals and experiential learning, such as simulations or role-playing.   Several practicing, social-justice attorneys will join us to guest-speak. Grades will be based on writing assignments, quizzes, and class participation; there will not be a final exam.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None
2014
Fall 2014
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

237.01 2 S. Hannah Demeritt F 10:30-12:20 pm Room 4055
This course examines Professional Responsibility as it applies to representing poor and/or underrepresented clients (in criminal and civil cases), as well as to lawyering for social justice causes, through impact litigation and other means. We will explore the substantive law of Professional Responsibility, focusing on ethical challenges frequently encountered in social justice representation (e.g., representing clients who are uneducated or culturally different than the attorney, practicing with limited resources in an environment of many unmet legal needs, defining who the client is when representing a group or cause, and the tensions created when the requirements of Professional Responsibility are at odds with the attorney's personal morality or vision of social justice).  While we will work mostly from the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, required reading will also include scholarship on the unique ethical and moral dilemmas of social justice lawyers, and students will be encouraged to think critically about the rules of Professional Responsibility and their application in social justice contexts.  Throughout the course, we will consider and practice the lawyering skills needed to ethically represent clients and social causes, through in-class resolution of hypotheticals and experiential learning, such as simulations or role-playing.   Several practicing, social-justice attorneys will join us to guest-speak. Grades will be based on writing assignments, quizzes, and class participation; there will not be a final exam.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None
2013
Fall 2013
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

237.01 2 S. Hannah Demeritt F 10:00-11:50 am Room 4042
This course examines Professional Responsibility as it applies to representing poor and/or underrepresented clients (in criminal and civil cases), as well as to lawyering for social justice causes, through impact litigation and other means. We will explore the substantive law of Professional Responsibility, focusing on ethical challenges frequently encountered in social justice representation (e.g., representing clients who are uneducated or culturally different than the attorney, practicing with limited resources in an environment of many unmet legal needs, defining who the client is when representing a group or cause, and the tensions created when the requirements of Professional Responsibility are at odds with the attorney's personal morality or vision of social justice).  While we will work mostly from the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, required reading will also include scholarship on the unique ethical and moral dilemmas of social justice lawyers, and students will be encouraged to think critically about the rules of Professional Responsibility and their application in social justice contexts.  Throughout the course, we will consider and practice the lawyering skills needed to ethically represent clients and social causes, through in-class resolution of hypotheticals and experiential learning, such as simulations or role-playing.   Several practicing, social-justice attorneys will join us to guest-speak. Grades will be based on writing assignments, quizzes, and class participation; there will not be a final exam.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None
2012
Fall 2012
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

237.01 2 S. Hannah Demeritt Th 4:30-6:20 pm Th 4:30-6:20 pm Room 3037
This course examines Professional Responsibility as it applies to representing poor and/or underrepresented clients (in criminal and civil cases), as well as to lawyering for social justice causes, through impact litigation and other means. We will explore the substantive law of Professional Responsibility, focusing on ethical challenges frequently encountered in social justice representation (e.g., representing clients who are uneducated or culturally different than the attorney, practicing with limited resources in an environment of many unmet legal needs, defining who the client is when representing a group or cause, and the tensions created when the requirements of Professional Responsibility are at odds with the attorney's personal morality or vision of social justice).  While we will work mostly from the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, required reading will also include scholarship on the unique ethical and moral dilemmas of social justice lawyers, and students will be encouraged to think critically about the rules of Professional Responsibility and their application in social justice contexts.  Throughout the course, we will consider and practice the lawyering skills needed to ethically represent clients and social causes, through in-class resolution of hypotheticals and experiential learning, such as simulations or role-playing.   Several practicing, social-justice attorneys will join us to guest-speak. Grades will be based on writing assignments, quizzes, and class participation; there will not be a final exam.

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

*Please note that this information is for planning purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the schedule for a given semester. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.