UCHastings Instagram

Barrister's Ball
Instagram Photo Likes thoffany, jaybeedoe, exnowayyy and 12 others like this.

Legally Speaking

In conversation with UC Hastings Professor Joan C. Williams.

UC Hastings Professor Joan Williams welcomes U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for a conversation that touches on a broad range of subjects, from opera to marriage to work/life balance, doctrinal questions, and cases from the 1970's to present, including the court's role in establishing individual rights and equal protection. 

UCHastings Spotlight

Experiential Learning

"I don't box just to box, to stay in shape. I want to fight." - Stalacia M. Leggett '14

Life @UCHastings

"Look at the view I get every morning."

"This is my school. These are my friends." Video by Fatemeh Shahangia '12.
Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Study by Professor Mark Aaronson Explores Social Cause Lawyering

Study examines the professional and institutional character of group legal representation for the poor as a strategy for political empowerment and social change.
Sample alt tag.
Professor Mark N. Aaronson

Published as a Special Edition of the UC Hastings Law Journal, Representing the Poor: Legal Advocacy and Welfare Reform during Reagan’s Gubernatorial Years examines the contentious and litigious battle over welfare reform in California during the early 1970s between Governor Ronald Reagan and Ralph Santiago Abascal, a legal-aid attorney.

“A main theme that runs throughout the work is the importance of social cause lawyering for the poor within our constitutional democracy,” Aaronson says, “notwithstanding the political intractability of realistically confronting poverty as a societal problem. I hope that my work will stand as a model for social justice lawyers today, as they seek to make this world a better place for all.”

To counter Governor Reagan’s ambition to slash welfare programs during the 1970s, Ralph Abascal aligned with other legal-services lawyers and recipient-led welfare-rights organizations to use court litigation as part of a holistic strategy including legislative and administrative actions.

Delving deep into this conflict, Aaronson offers an extended, multifaceted perspective of social cause lawyering rarely found in scholarly literature. Situating the conflict within the context of American pluralism and constitutionalism, and drawing on ideas from political science and legal history, Aaronson offers powerful insights into the professional and institutional character of group legal representation for the poor as a strategy for political empowerment and social change.

Aaronson then uses the California welfare case study to develop three broader themes about social cause lawyering: (1) social cause lawyering is a systemic necessity for the democratic and equitable functioning of our governing institutions; (2) the client constraints on the role of lawyers for groups or causes have more to do conceptually with understandings about the nature of representation than the applicability of ethical or procedural rules; and (3) the political consequences of such legal advocacy are variable and potentially contradictory.

Interview with Governor Reagan

The book-length article includes as an appendix a full transcript of an interview Professor Aaronson conducted with Governor Reagan on March 6, 1975, during which Aaronson was able to question Reagan on his specific welfare policies extensively.

About the Author

Mark Neal Aaronson joined the UC Hastings faculty in 1992 and was the founding director of its Civil Justice Clinic. Prior to joining the faculty he had an extensive career as a civil rights and anti-poverty lawyer. For 13 years he served as Executive Director of the San Francisco Lawyers' Committee for Urban Affairs (now known as the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area), during which time he argued a federal welfare rights case before the U. S. Supreme Court. He received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. Immediately after law school, he was a Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellow with legal services programs in Chicago and Hartford. He later earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. He has written articles on practical judgment in lawyering, civility, legal education, and social welfare policy and a book on representing the poor.

###

Go to News Archive

Share this Story

Share via Facebook
Share via TwitterShare via EmailPrint Friendly Version

Other Recent Stories/ RSS

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thinkers & Doers: October 24, 2014

UC Hastings community members in the news and making moves October 18 - 24, 2014.
Thursday, October 23, 2014

Amicable Outcomes from Litigation and Alumni-Student Mentoring

A story of a non-contentious courtroom drama leads to 3L Miles Winder’s dream job offer.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jodie Allison Smith ‘14 Wins ABA Writing Award

“Long Term Thinking in the Judiciary: Might Judges Mitigate Political Paralysis?” examines the judicial branch’s ability to bring long-term thinking into matters of public law.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Passionate About Deaf Issues: 5 Qs for Alice McGill '91

Alice McGill is the Deputy Director at NorCal Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Sacramento, California.
Thursday, October 16, 2014

3L Robert Graham: City Bank Project is Alternate Housing Crisis Fix

"My upbringing and public interest background has taught me that affordable housing is intertwined with other social and fiscal issues—like a child’s access to quality education and a working family’s ability to earn a living wage."
Go to News Archive