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Poverty Law: United States


Scott L. Cummings


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Jeffrey Selbin


University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

September 7, 2013

International Encyclopedia of Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2d Ed., Forthcoming
NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 31/2012
UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 2242275

Abstract:     
“Poverty law” refers to policy and lawyering strategies to contest inequality. The rise of the federal welfare state shaped the contours of poverty law in the first half of the twentieth century. This combined with the rights revolution at mid-century to mobilize legal services lawyers and courts in the War on Poverty, which was the zenith of the antipoverty movement. The welfare state’s subsequent decline and federal court retrenchment has channeled the antipoverty movement in new directions forged by decentralization, privatization, and globalization.

This encyclopedia entry traces poverty law's history and more recent response to these trends by moving downward (from federal to local), outward (from state to market), and beyond (from domestic to global).

Number of Pages in PDF File: 14

Keywords: access to justice, antipoverty, civil Gideon, globalization, inequality, legal aid, legal services, poverty, poverty law, poverty lawyers, pro bono, rights revolution, war on poverty, welfare reform, welfare state

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Date posted: April 1, 2013 ; Last revised: September 25, 2013

Suggested Citation

Cummings, Scott L. and Selbin, Jeffrey, Poverty Law: United States (September 7, 2013). International Encyclopedia of Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2d Ed., Forthcoming; NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 31/2012; UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 2242275. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2242275

Contact Information

Scott L. Cummings
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )
385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
Jeffrey Selbin (Contact Author)
University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )
215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
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