Cultivating Justice for the Working Poor: Clinical Representation of Unemployment Claimants

27 Pages Posted: 17 May 2011 Last revised: 3 May 2015

Date Written: May 16, 2011

Abstract

The combination of current economic conditions and recent changes in the United States’ welfare system makes representation of unemployment insurance claimants by clinic students a timely learning opportunity. While unemployment insurance claimants often share similarities with student attorneys, they are unable to access justice as easily as student attorneys, and as a result, face the risk of severe poverty. Clinical representation of unemployment claimants is a rich opportunity for students to experience making a difference for a client, and to understand the issues of poverty and justice that these clients experience along the way. These cases reveal that larger lessons of justice can come from cases that are not classic poverty law representations, but are nonetheless tangible, personalized, and valuable sources of learning about justice and the poor.

Keywords: poverty law, unemployment benefits, unemployment insurance claimants, unemployment insurance system, Community Justice Project, law school clinics, student attorney representation, clinical education

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K23

Suggested Citation

Shanahan, Colleen F., Cultivating Justice for the Working Poor: Clinical Representation of Unemployment Claimants (May 16, 2011). Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law Policy, Vol. 18, No. 3, 2011; Georgetown Law and Economics Research Paper No. 12-018; Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 12-065. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1843398

Colleen F. Shanahan (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

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