Human Rights and Social Justice

Business in Society

Lecture - Society’s expectations of companies are changing and companies are responding. Many companies go beyond compliance with the law to address environmental and social issues, from climate change to diversity. This new articulation of corporate purpose raises complex legal, ethical, and business questions. This class uses the case study method to examine this paradigm shift in the business and investment community. Each week we will analyze a particular company or business trend.

Drafting a Solar Farm Bill Practicum

Skills - 2 hours. Drafting a Solar Farm Bill is a practicum in which the class acts as an advisory law firm for its client, a solar farm bill solution and its facilitator, the educational non-profit Climate Solutions Advocacy Institute (CSAI). The class objective is to provide the client with a white paper that can advise CSAI in its development of a massive solar farm bill, financed by green bonds.

Race and the Law

Discussion – 2 hours. This course will examine major cases, statutes, and events in the law, both on the books and in action, dealing with nonwhites. The course will include discussion of the situation of African Americans, Asians, Indigenous People, and Latinx People, from the Colonial era to the present. In addition to examining legal doctrine and policy, it will explore how the contemporary United States has been shaped by racial discrimination.

Humanizing Deportation

Practicum - 2 hours. This practicum will focus on student's investigation, research, interviewing and client counseling skills. The course is an outgrowth of the UC Davis Humanizing Deportation Project, an interdisciplinary storytelling project that has catalogued over 200 stories of deported individuals throughout Mexico. Students will review the stories in the archive, research possible forms of immigration relief for deported individuals, and identify possible candidates for legal screening.

Military Justice and Social Change: Race, Gender, and SOGI

Seminar - 2 hours. When surveyed, Americans consistently report high confidence and trust in the United States Military and service members. This trust and confidence has come from a history of devotion to the defense of the United States, which includes a culture of teamwork and discipline. To this end, the military has developed laws and regulations tailored to the unique mission. As the United States has seen social change, these unique laws and regulations can be at odds with or promote change within our society.

Trauma-Informed Lawyering

Seminar - 2 hours. Recent developments in neuroscience and psychology support the contention that we live in a world impacted by trauma. But lawyers are not often trained in recognizing how trauma affects our work. Trauma-informed lawyering is an approach to the practice of law that equips students with the knowledge and skills to navigate these difficult environments.

Advanced Aoki Criminal Justice Practicum

Students who completed one semester of the Criminal Justice Practicum will work on claims of innocence, wrongful conviction, and other miscarriages of justice. Students will draft papers for prosecutors' offices, will make formal internal presentations, and possibly appear in court.

Graduation Requirements: May satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement OR count towards the Professional Skills Requirement, student must choose one.
Final Assessment: Other (Briefs, motions, memoranda)
Grading Mode:  Letter Grading

Civil Rights Clinic

 This clinic provides practical experience in providing legal services to indigent clients who have filed civil rights actions in state and federal trial and appellate courts. Students work on clinic cases under the supervision of the clinic director. Students are required to follow the clinic office procedures and to employ skills such as interviewing, counseling, research, writing, negotiating, taking and defending depositions, and possibly oral and trial advocacy. Students are certified to appear in court. Each unit of clinic credit assumes four hours of work per week.

Civil Rights Law

Discussion – 2 hours. This course focuses on litigation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the federal civil rights statute which provides the primary vehicle for claims by individuals that their federal rights have been violated by state or local officials.  We will address the substantive legal doctrines that govern § 1983 cases, the doctrines that govern the constitutional claims most frequently arising in the § 1983 context, affirmative defenses, and related civil procedure and practice considerations.  There will  be a single, final exam; class participation counts heavily in grading.