It's About Power, Not Policy: Movement Lawyering for Largescale Social Change
23(1) Clinical Law Review 147 (2016).
21 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 11, 2016
This article presents a critical reflection on the disconnect between conventional legal training and the skills needed by lawyers to support low-income communities of color, among others, in addressing U.S. systems of oppression. It is intended to assist aspiring “movement lawyers” in developing their capacity to align their strategic and tactical decision-making with the power dynamics faced by the communities they serve. It offers some analytical tools and strategic resources – including the “Social Change Power Meter” – and provides a case study of the national movement to dismantle the “school-to-prison pipeline,” in which lawyers played a critical supporting role in addressing the overuse of out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, referrals to alternative schools, school-based arrests, and other school referrals to the juvenile justice system.
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