Intellectual Activism and the Practice of Public Interest Law
Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice, Vol. 25, p. 127 (2016)
57 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2015 Last revised: 26 Jun 2016
Date Written: June 24, 2016
Intellectual activism is both a philosophy and a practice for engaging in scholarship relevant to real-world problems and challenges, putting its prescriptions into action, and learning from the process and results of implementation. In the legal context, intellectual activism involves conducting and publishing original research and analysis and then applying that work to the tasks of reforming and improving the law, legal systems, and the legal profession. This article explores the concept and practice of intellectual activism for the benefit of interested law professors, lawyers, and law students.
This is a very personal piece, grounded in extensive scholarly, public education, and advocacy work that I have done in two areas: (1) fostering the enactment of workplace anti-bullying legislation and building public awareness of the phenomenon of bullying at work; and (2) participating in an emerging legal and social movement to challenge the widespread, exploitative practice of unpaid internships. It also discusses my involvement in multidisciplinary networks and institutions that have nurtured my work, examines the relevant use of social media, and provides examples of how law students can function as intellectual activists. This article closes with an Appendix containing a short annotated bibliography of books that are broadly relevant to the topics discussed in the text.
Keywords: Legal Education, Legal Scholarship, Legal Advocacy, Legislation, Public Interest Law, Employment Law, Workplace Bullying, Unpaid Internships, Therapeutic Jurisprudence
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