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.
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          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.

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          Tuesday, January 17, 2017

          Professor Leo Martinez Elected Fellow of American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel

          One of only five academics in elite organization focused on the creative, ethical, and efficient adjudication of insurance coverage and extra-contractual disputes, peer-provided scholarship, professional coordination and the improvement of the relationship between and among its diverse members.
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          Thinkers & Doers: December 2016

          FACULTY on everything from the future of environmental law to “The Historical Origins of American Regulatory Exceptionalism" -- Prof Feldman receives a World Technology Award – Which ALUMNI was part of the trial team that successfully swayed a Texas jury to order Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $1 billion (yes, that’s with a “B”) to patients for faulty hip implants? --  STUDENTS enjoy spicy Thai food with the TENDERLOIN Economic Development Project for their Restaurant of the Week campaign -- and so much MORE.
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