Law/Soc Innovation:Crt Prb Sv

Academic Year

This course will examine the critical role creative problem solving plays in legal practice and advocacy. It will begin with case studies of instances where lawyers used a range of advocacy tools to address critical social issues, like the preservation of affordable housing options, the legal rights of prisoners with psychiatric disabilities, the need for new economic models to promote the interests of low-wage workers, and the impact of low-level consumer debt cases on local courts. These case studies will explore the use of a range of advocacy tools in these problem solving efforts, including impact litigation, policy and legislative advocacy, and direct representation. Students will then engage in a joint project to understand and address a current pressing social problem. Through this study, students will engage in an in-depth analysis of the problem and craft solutions to it, which will culminate in the generation of a "white paper," drafted collectively and for wide distribution, on the topic. The likely problem the students will address in the first offering of this course is the impact of the foreclosure crisis on municipalities. This project, done in collaboration with local municipalities and government agencies, will explore "best practices" in the field that municipalities across the country are deploying. The white paper will offer a menu of options that can be utilized by municipalities when considering policy, programmatic and regulatory responses to the foreclosure crisis many localities still face. In addition to the joint project, students will be asked to analyze a social issue of their choice and devise a final report on potential solutions to their chosen social issue. The hope is that at least some students will use this final report as a starting point from which to craft a proposal for a post-graduate, public interest fellowship, should they choose to pursue o