Founding Executive Director, Detroit Justice Center
Amanda Alexander, founding executive director of the Detroit Justice Center, is a racial justice lawyer and historian who works alongside community-based movements to end mass incarceration and build thriving and inclusive cities. Originally from Michigan, Amanda has worked at the intersection of racial justice and community development in Detroit, New York and South Africa for more than 15 years.
Managing Attorney, Housing Policy, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia (CLS)
Rasheedah Phillips currently serves as the managing attorney of housing policy at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. She began her career at CLS in 2008 in the Community Economic Development Unit, providing legal advice, representation, and engaging in community lawyering on behalf of small childcare for profit and non-profit organizations. She has trained on racial justice and housing law issues and skills throughout the country, previously serving as the Senior Advocate Resources & Training Attorney at Shriver Center on Poverty Law. Rasheedah is the recipient of the 2017 National Housing Law Project Housing Justice Award, the 2017 City & State Pennsylvania 40 Under 40 Rising Star Award, the 2018 Temple University Black Law Student Association Alumni Award, the 2018 CLS Equal Justice Award, and the 2019 Barristers Association of Philadelphia Outstanding Young Attorney Award. She is a 2016 Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Institute Fellow, 2018 Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity, and recently awarded a research fellowship with Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School. Phillips is a 2008 graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law, and 2005 graduate of Temple University.
Executive Director, Land Loss Prevention Project
Savi Horne is executive director of the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers, Land Loss Prevention Project, a non-profit law firm has offered for more than thirty-three years, legal representation of clients, community economic development, and professional outreach in the effort to promote wealth, land preservation and rural livelihoods. As a state, regional and national non-governmental organization leader, she has been instrumental in addressing the needs of socially disadvantaged farmers and rural communities. She graduated from Rutgers University, School of Law-Newark, New Jersey and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1990.
Founder and Executive Director, Movement Law Lab
Purvi Shah is an experienced legal innovator and movement lawyer. One of the nation’s premier thinkers on law and social movements, Shah founded Movement Law Lab to seed a new generation of legal problem-solvers to tackle some of America’s toughest justice challenges.
Senior Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund
Leah Aden serves as senior counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF). In that capacity, Aden uses litigation, legislative, policy and public education strategies to ensure that black and other people of color have equal access to the political process, economic opportunity and environmental justice.
Director, Civil Rights Clinic, DePaul University College of Law
Systemic Justice, Redress & Reparations for Mass Criminalization and Incarceration
In the past four decades, there have been several law enforcement scandals involving torture, the fabrication of evidence or other forms of misconduct that have ensnared scores of people in the criminal legal system (e.g., the recent prosecutions involving crime lab chemists in Massachusetts). While there have been some successful efforts to overturn individual convictions, less attention has been devoted to securing systemic and holistic redress for all those whose lives have been decimated by these egregious violations. This course will explore examples of reparations schemes internationally and domestically that have provided class-wide and inclusive redress with the goal of creating templates for providing systemic redress for the harm caused by the US criminal legal system.
Joey Mogul is a partner at the People’s Law Office. Mogul’s practice focuses on representing people who have suffered from police and other governmental torture, abuse and misconduct in civil rights cases, and defending individuals in criminal and capital cases. Mogul also directs the Civil Rights Clinic at DePaul University College of Law. Mogul has sought justice for Chicago Police torture survivors for the last twenty years, successfully representing a number of Burge torture survivors in their criminal post-conviction proceedings securing the release and exoneration of several torture survivors and in federal civil rights cases. Mogul served as co-lead counsel in litigation securing legal representation for the Burge torture survivors who remain behind bars in post-conviction proceedings in 2014. Mogul also successfully presented the cases to the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) and the Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland in 2006, obtaining a specific finding from the CAT calling for the prosecution of the perpetrators and accountability in these cases in May of 2006.
Robin Kniech '04
Councilwoman, Denver City Council
American cities are widely understood to be the economic engines of metropolitan regions and the country. Strong-market cities in particular are experiencing job and population growth, with private sector investment and changing preferences for more urban living driving an upward shift in median incomes and changes in demographics. Urban prosperity has not been evenly distributed, however, elevating concerns about income inequality and displacement. Federal disinvestment and political roadblocks at the state and federal levels have spurred municipal innovation to address income inequality. Cities are also on the front line of advancing and defending inclusion for populations threatened by recent federal actions, such as immigrants and LGBT individuals. They are reaching beyond provision of basic services to meet these challenges through policies or practices that expand civil rights, wages, worker protections, safety net services such as affordable housing and more. This course will examine these trends through a series of case-studies, highlighting policy innovations and legal intersections ranging from home rule powers, state pre-emption, the limits of federal coercion and constitutional considerations. Taught by an experienced municipal elected official, this course will include exploration of the civic and political contexts within which these policy and legal debates are conducted.
Fellow, Stanford Center on the Legal Profession
Lecturer, Stanford Institute of Design
One of the biggest challenges facing the legal system is how many people are trying to navigate it without a lawyer; particularly for problems like divorce, child custody, personal debt, housing, and small claims. Offered in collaboration with the NuLawLab, this class proposes that a user-centered design approach, mixed with an agile development approach, can increase the amount of procedural justice for self-represented litigants in the courts. Students will be exposed to how to practice agile user-centered design by creating new interventions for courts to help people without a lawyer to understand their legal options, create a strategy, and pursue a legal process. The class will involve fieldwork at the courts; identifying key fail points and frustrations of stakeholders by observing and conducting interviews, and brainstorming and testing new solutions.
Talila A. Lewis
Disability Justice in the Age of Mass Incarceration: Perspectives on Race, Disability, Law and Accountability
People with disabilities represent the largest minority population in our jails and prisons. Yet, advocates rarely view the crisis of mass incarceration through a disability justice lens or approach deincarceration advocacy with an intersectional framework.
This course will explore the nexus between race, disability and structural inequality, focusing in particular, on people with multiply marginalized identities. Discussion will center on common and overlapping experiences with education and income inequality; police brutality; wrongful arrests and convictions; mass incarceration; and rights violations in carceral settings. Students will learn practical strategies for advocacy in education, justice, legal and prison settings that foreground long-standing federal disability rights laws that guarantee equal access to and treatment of people with disabilities. In addition to examining legal strategies, students will engage in non-legal experiential learning opportunities within various substantive public interest issue areas, including school discipline, deaf wrongful conviction and prisoner rights. Students will leave this course with a thorough understanding of power and privilege, accountable advocacy, and experience with engaging in the most effective kind of activism — activism that cuts across identities, communities and movements.
When disaster strikes, it exposes increased vulnerabilities in areas of racial segregation and fence line communities exposed to environmental injustice. Leaders may exploit the situation to push deregulation, privatization, and displacement of vulnerable communities, all of which can thwart a just and equitable recovery. In this course, you will become acquainted with a toolkit of litigation, advocacy communications, and community lawyering skills to secure rights guaranteed under the Fair Housing Act, Environment Justice rules and related civil rights laws. You will explore oversight, accountability, and advocacy techniques and gain a better understanding of providing high impact civil legal aid in the aftermath of disasters. This course will focus on case studies drawn from Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, Superstorm Sandy, and from the BP oil explosion.
Julia Devanthery '09
Clinical Instructor at The Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School
Housing Justice: An Introduction to Housing Law and Effective Advocacy for Low-Income Clients
This course will provide an introduction to housing law and justice, by examining the issues facing advocates and low-income tenants/homeowners, and by participating in hands-on fieldwork and court observation. The course will cover the following topics: eviction defense in Massachusetts; homelessness; the intersection of domestic violence and housing; fair housing and residential segregation; foreclosure defense law in Massachusetts; community lawyering and organizing for housing justice; gentrification/mass displacement; and the Civil Gideon movement.
The class will draw on the perspectives of advocates in the Boston area housing justice community, who will participate either as guest speakers in class, or as subject experts during field visits to community organizing meetings, legal services providers, and the Boston Housing Court. In addition to attending class, students will be required to do the following fieldwork/court observation at least once during the quarter: observe eviction day at the Boston Housing Court (Thursday mornings); attend the Greater Boston Legal Services eviction clinic to assist legal aid attorneys in their effort to help unrepresented people fill out and file essential pre-trial documents (Monday mornings); and attend at least one community organizing meeting at City Life/Vida Urbana (Tuesday evenings). Class time will be reduced to reflect these additional requirements
Reed Zars '86
One of the Nation’s Leading Environmental Lawyers
"Strategies for Public Interest Environmental Litigation"
Environmental laws are passed, regulations are promulgated, but what happens in the real world? Too often, enforcement is lax, illegal exceptions are granted, inconsequential penalties are levied, business ‐‐ and pollution ‐‐ continues as usual.
Using real life examples, students will learn how to evaluate, litigate and prevail in environmental enforcement cases brought in the public interest. The course will cover the philosophical and policy‐related underpinings of citizen suit enforcement, case development and analysis, attorney‐client retainers and economic considerations, ethical considerations, strategic use of experts, citizen standing pointers and pitfalls, deposition and motions practice, agency relations and the threat of preclusion, trial, settlement strategies and consent decree drafting, media, and post‐trial/settlement monitoring and enforcement.
Jennifer J. Rosenbaum
Legal and Policy Director, National Guestworker Alliance and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice
"Building: Power for Contingent Workers: Community Lawyering Strategies"
Subcontracting, involuntary part time and temporary work, and global supply chains are pervasive in low wage industries where wages and working conditions are in a rapid decline. Workers and their advocates have responded with creative strategies and innovative organizing campaigns to improve workplace conditions and hold the beneficiaries of their labor accountable. We will use case studies to analyze the potential and limitations of various social change strategies including collective organizing, direct action, rights-education, litigation, administrative complaints and legislative advocacy. We will address questions at the intersection of employment, immigration, civil rights and labor law to evaluate the short and long term promise of various legal theories and strategies and to develop recommendations for individual and organizational clients.
Legal Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation
"Civil Liberties Lawyering in the Digital Age: Free Speech, Privacy, Surveillance and More"
By now it is a truism that digital technologies have a tremendous impact on civil liberties. But the reverse is also true -- sensitivity to civil liberties can help shape digital technologies as well. The Internet gave everyone a soapbox to create websites, blog, tweet or publish videos to the world even as those same speech activities are heavily dependent on the immunities available to a string of technological intermediaries. And of course the digitization of communications also allowed the NSA to conduct the unprecedented mass surveillance of innocent people around the world. Similarly, the digitization of books allows the possibility of universal access to all human knowledge, even as the most of current crop of e-books vendors conduct unfettered tracking of readers and use contract restrictions and digital locks to eliminate the ability to lend or resell works.
Lawyering in this fast-moving environment requires recognition that "architecture is policy" and that the decisions of how technologies are configured, both technologically and legally, can have a tremendous role in either granting users more liberties or bringing about dystopian scenarios. It also takes a civil liberties lawyer to strange places -- copyright, patents, trademarks and trade secrecy law all play a bigger role in protecting civil liberties online than they ever did offline. Through case studies and analysis of current headlines, we'll look at the law's struggle with new technologies and the various tools available to lawyers -- litigation, advising technology developers and researchers, legislation, participation in regulatory processes and public activism -- to try to steer both law and technology toward more protection for civil liberties and away from paths that would reduce them.
Police Misconduct Attorney, New York
“Policing Gender and Sexuality: Case Studies in Community-Based Lawyering”
Andrea Ritchie is a police misconduct attorney and organizer in New York City. She has engaged in extensive research, writing, speaking, litigation, organizing and advocacy on profiling, policing, and physical and sexual violence by law enforcement agents against women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the US and Canada over the past decade. She currently coordinates Streetwise & Safe (SAS), a leadership development initiative aimed at building knowledge, community and power among LGBT youth of color with experience of gender, race, sexuality and poverty-based policing and criminalization in the context of “quality of life” initiatives and the policing of sex work and trafficking. She proudly serves on the Board of Directors of theYoung Women’s Empowerment Project (YWEP) and as a member of the Safe Outside the System Collective of the Audre Lorde Project. She is also counsel, along with Joey Mogul, in Tikkun v. City of New York, et al., a civil rights action challenging unconstitutional and overly invasive searches of transgender people by New York City Police officers. In 2009 she served as the Director of the Sex Workers Project. She was a primary author of In the Shadows of the War on Terror: Persistent Police Brutality and Abuse in the United States, a “shadow report” submitted on behalf of over 100 national and local organizations and individuals to the United Nations Committee Against Torture, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Ritchie was as an expert consultant, lead researcher and coauthor for Amnesty International’s 2005 report Stonewalled: Police Abuse and Misconduct Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in the United States. She was also a consultant and co-author for Caught in the Net, a report on women and the “war on drugs” published by the ACLU, the Brennan Center for Justice, and Break the Chains, and Education Not Deportation: Impacts of New York City School Safety Policies on Immigrant Youth, published by Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM). Her book, Everyday Violence: Racial Profiling and Police Brutality Against Women and Transgender People of Color, will be published in 2013.
Criminal Defense Attorney, Roxbury Defenders Unit, Committee for Public Counsel Services
"Crash the System: Social Justice Movements v. The Law"
Carl Williams is a criminal defense attorney with the Roxbury Defenders Unit of the Committee for Public Counsel Services. Mr. Williams is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island (1991) and the University of Wisconsin Law School (2006). A long-time resident of Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, he has been an activist and organizer on issues of war, immigrant's right, LGBT rights, racial justice and Palestinian self-determination. Mr. Williams is a member of the National Lawyers Guild and has served on its Massachusetts board of directors. During the Occupy Boston movement he was part of its legal defense and support team, which provided nearly 24-hour support to the participants.
Adjunct Professor, Northern Arizona University
“Ma'h Adil'Inigh: Indian Law for Coyotes”
James W. Zion is a private jurisconsult who lives in Albuquerque, researching and writing on Indian court matters, traditional Indian law, and Indian Country justice initiatives. An Adjunct Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University, he was Solicitor to the Courts of the Navajo Nation from 1981 through 1983 and 1991 through 2001.
Elyse Cherry '83
Chief Executive Officer, Boston Community Capital
"Enhancing the Flow of Capital to Low Income Communities: A Lawyer's Role"
Elyse Cherry is Chief Executive Officer of Boston Community Capital, and the President of Boston Community Venture Fund, an affiliate of Boston Community Capital. Ms. Cherry helped found Boston Community Capital in 1984 as a member of its original Board of Directors. Under her leadership, Boston Community Capital has grown from a single, debt-based business line to a multi-tiered organization that includes two double bottom-line venture funds, a national tax credit program, a mortgage brokerage, a mortgage lender aimed at stabilizing urban neighborhoods, a real estate acquisition entity, and an alternative energy initiative focused on controlling utility costs in multi-family affordable housing developments. In addition, Ms. Cherry is an active civic leader. She served as a member of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s nineteen-member statewide transition team. Ms. Cherry is a frequent panelist and speaker at national conferences. Ms. Cherry is an attorney and a former partner at the law firm of Hale and Dorr, now known as Wilmer Hale, where her transactional practice focused on commercial real estate finance and development. Early in her career, Ms. Cherry served as a field examiner at the New England region of the National Labor Relations Board and as a VISTA volunteer in rural Tennessee. Ms. Cherry is a graduate of Wellesley College (1975) and the Northeastern University School of Law where she delivered the student commencement address.
Co-Director and Co-Founder, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights
“Environmental Justice and Human Rights Law”
This course is designed for students interested in the intersection of human rights and environmental protection. The course will explore the environmental justice movement in the United States and its global linkages to environmental human rights law. Course materials focus on the similarities and differences of statutory, administrative, and judicial responses to toxic and hazardous environmental conditions in the United States and select foreign countries. Students will be evaluated on a course project involving environmental human rights litigation.
Staff Attorney and Director of Litigation, National Consumer Law Center
“Predatory Lending on Trial: Consumer Advocacy Impact Litigation in the Fringe Financing Marketplace”
Students can expect to gain or improve their consumer advocacy and civil litigation skills, as well as deepen their substantive understanding of state and federal consumer laws and procedure in this brief course.
Executive Director, Justice Now (Oakland, California)
“Social Change vs. Appropriation; Abolition vs. Reform”
The course will examine the role and limits of the law in effecting radical social change as seen through critical examination of the current work of the prison reform movement and the counter modern resurgence of the prison industrial complex abolition movement. Emphasis will be placed on evaluation of legal tools for effecting gender liberation, racial justice, and anti-violence strategies (including anti-state violence). In addition to critiquing the role of law, students will be asked to explore the viability and possibility of combining the law with communications, human rights, organizing, and other tools to impact social change: generally asking who should use the law and how, toward what end, and how do you know when you get there. The course is intended to prepare students for on-the-ground problem-solving as practitioners and activists surrounding lawyering, coalition building, evaluating one's impact, ethical use of one's power, and what to do if your strategies "fail."
Howard Friedman ’77
Law Offices of Howard Friedman, PC
"Litigation: Liability of Law Enforcement Officers and Local Government Entities"
Litigation Director, Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California
“Strategies for Social Change Lawyering: Litigation and Beyond in the Fight for Worker Justice”
Legal Counsel and Services Program Director, Alternatives for Community and Environment
“Environmental Justice: Using Law and Advocacy for Social Change”
Regional Counsel, San Antonia Office, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
“Latino Civil Rights Litigation: Contemporary Responses to Voting Discrimination”