The Social Justice Lawyering concentration prepares students to make a positive impact on the world by serving under-represented clients and communities.
Students attracted to this concentration come from diverse communities and perspectives, but all share a strong desire for a career that aligns with their values. This shared sense of calling to address issues of social justice builds a strong, supportive, enduring community that helps sustain concentrators as they enter and pursue this challenging work.
As a public institution, UC Hastings has a deep commitment to training future social justice lawyers, officials, legislators, and analysts. This is reflected by the faculty’s devotion to the focus area. Social Justice Lawyering offers an impressive array of more than 100 classes that are taught by over thirty full-time UC Hastings faculty, as well as adjunct faculty who include some of the nation’s preeminent public interest lawyers. Students learn from pioneers in social justice, such as Professor Karen Musalo, who, as part of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, led a successful effort to obtain legal recognition of domestic violence as a potential basis for asylum, and from Professor Ascanio Piomelli, a leading analyst and advocate of “democratic” or “rebellious” approaches to social justice lawyering.
To give students experience in the community, on-the-ground work is an important component of this concentration. Every student in the Social Justice Lawyering concentration must take a clinical course--luckily there are plenty to choose from: criminal law, immigration, international human rights, community group advocacy and, social enterprise, to name but a few. This not only gives students critical hands-on knowledge, but it helps them decide what kind of social justice lawyer they want to be.
A year-long seminar in the second year also brings students and faculty together for an even deeper dive into what it means to be a social justice lawyer. This intensive experience connects peers and mentors, forging relationships that will support you as you move forward to change the world.
Concentration Advisor: Professor Ascanio Piomelli