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Law and Social Change

          
Program of Study Faculty and Staff Leaders

David Grossman

Dean Martha Minow

Benjamin Sachs

Alexa Shabecoff

Program of Study Student Fellows

Scott Hochberg

Blake Strode

Announcements and Events

Overview

Because law is deeply implicated in our economic, political, and social worlds, pursuit of social change invariably involves an engagement with law. Students who seek to understand how law can be harnessed for social change, or who wish to pursue careers as social change agents, are encouraged to follow the Law and Social Change Program of Study.

Organizing Ourselves: Building a Community at Harvard

At the heart of the Program of Study is an effort to build a community of students and faculty committed to understanding and using law as a means of achieving social change.  The Program holds regular events with faculty and students who can answer questions about course selection, summer plans, and career options.  The Program also sponsors programming on substantive social change topics and social events to give students and professors affiliated with the Program the chance to get to know one another in more informal settings. 

Modes and Areas of Social Change Work

This Program of Study includes not only those courses and clinics that are obviously relevant, but also classes and activities that with less obvious links to law and social change that are potentially critical to building relevant understanding, skills, and strategies. Learning about the past, analyzing relationships among law, society, the economy, and social institutions, dissecting powerful institutions, and developing skills and capacities – including data and policy analysis skills – are all important steps; so is understanding particular problem areas and related legal materials. In order that students may develop a broad understanding of the ways in which law can contribute to social change, the Program is organized in two ways. First, recommended courses and faculty advisors are categorized according to different modes of social change work (a list that we continually expand and modify as the Program develops):

∙  Organizing and Social Movements

∙  Institutional Reform

∙  Litigation

∙  Organizational Development and Leadership

∙  Electoral Politics

∙  Media and the Internet

∙ Government

Second, because many students are drawn to law and social change through a substantive focus, problem area, or constituency, courses and faculty are categorized into substantive “areas” (also a list that we continue to expand and modify):

∙  Children, Youth, and Family: Health, Welfare, and Education

∙  Community Economic Development

∙ Criminal Justice

∙  Economic Justice

∙  Environment

∙  Gender and Sexuality

∙  Health Care

∙  Immigration and Asylum

∙  International Human Rights

∙  Land Use and Property

∙  National Security

∙  Poverty

∙  Racial Justice

∙  Religious Freedom

∙  Workplace

The Program of Study is not designed to encourage students to concentrate on a single mode or area of social change work. Nor does the Program view these different modes and areas as completely independent of one another; to the contrary, modes and areas of social change are deeply related to and impact each other. In sum, the Program’s intent is to enable students to develop a rich understanding of the promises and limitations inherent in the various modes and areas of work that are of interest to the student.

What follows is a description of modes and areas of social change, along with a preliminary list of faculty advisors and courses for each. Please note that for administrative ease, classes are listed only once in the “areas” section of this overview – although most have relevance to multiple areas of social change work. These lists will be updated as the Program continues to develop.

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Modes of Social Change

Organizing and Social Movements

People are at the heart of social change. So, then, are deliberate strategies to organize people, to mobilize groups with shared interests, to forge social movements, and to connect these efforts to law. The question of how law can facilitate organizing – how law can contribute to the building of social movements by enabling associations to meet, raise funds, speak, and act or by offering targets and arenas for action – is an important theme. The role of intellectuals and intellectual movements in social movement work is also an important area of study.

Recommended Courses:

HLS

Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (Prof. Grossman and Ms. Caramello)

Art of Social Change (Prof. Bartholet)

Child Advocacy Clinic (Prof. Bartholet)

Lawyer as Facilitator (Prof. Bordone)

Mediation (Mr. Hoffman)

Negotiation Workshop (Prof. Mnookin)

Harvard Kennedy School  (not all courses offered every year)

DPI-312: Sparking Social Change 

MLD-201A Exercising Leadership: The Politics of Change 

MLD-377: Organizing:  People, Power, and Change 

MLD-342 Persuasion: The Science and Art of Effective Influence 

Faculty Advisors:

Elizabeth Bartholet

David Grossman

Lani Guinier

Janet Halley

Michael Klarman

Martha Minow

Benjamin Sachs

Jeannie Suk

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Institutional Reform

Social change also involves reforming the institutions that structure and govern our society – including corporations, labor unions, administrative agencies, schools, child welfare institutions, and religious organizations – as well as working through these institutions to influence other sectors of society. Forging partnerships between public and private institutions also constitutes a promising avenue for reform.This mode of social change will enable students to understand how to reform and harness existing political, social, legal, and economic institutions.

Recommended Courses:

HLS

Antitrust Law and Economics - US (Prof. Elhauge)

Art of Social Change (Prof. Bartholet)

Bankruptcy (Profs. Roe and Triantis)

Child Advocacy Clinic (Prof. Bartholet)

Bankruptcy Deal-making (Prof. Roe)

Corporations (Profs. Clark, Coates, Fried, Kraakman, Ramseyer and Skeel)

Lawyer as Facilitator (Prof. Bordone)

Government Lawyer (Prof. Whiting)

Professor Dharan's courses

Local Government Law (Prof. Frug)

Mediation (Mr. Hoffman)

Negotiation Workshop (Prof. Mnookin)

Public Law Workshop (Profs. Gersen and Vermeule)

Taxation (Profs. Halperin, Kaplow, Shay, and Warren)

Harvard Kennedy School (not all courses offered every year)

SUP-211: Institutional and Community-Based Strategies to Support Children and Strengthen Families 

SUP-447: Politics, Policy Making and Political Action in American Education 

Harvard Business School  (not all courses offered every year)

Entrepreneurship in Education Reform 

Faculty Advisors:

Elizabeth Bartholet

Robert Bordone

Jerry Frug

Brian Price

Benjamin Sachs

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Litigation

Litigation is an historically significant and still often powerful force for social change.   Indeed, litigation has been central to many of the most well-known and important achievements in social change work.  This mode will enable students to develop an understanding of how litigation can function as a tool of social reform and in evaluating the uses and limits of litigation in this context.

Recommended Courses:

Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (Prof. Grossman and Ms. Caramello)

Art of Social Change (Prof. Bartholet)

Child Advocacy Clinic (Prof. Bartholet)

Complex Litigation and Mass Tort (Prof. Rosenberg)

Complex Litigation (Mr. Clary)

Copyright and Trademark Litigation: TRO to the Supreme Court (Ms. Cendali)

Criminal Justice Institute: Criminal Defense Clinic(Prof. Sullivan)

Drug Product Liability Litigation (Mr. Grossi)

Employment Law Clinic (Mr. Churchill)

Evidence (Mr. Feinberg, Visiting Prof. Murray, Visiting Prof. Rubin, Ms. Schulman and Prof. Whiting

Expert Witnesses (Prof. Greiner).

Federal Litigation: Civil (Prof. Rosenberg)

Government Lawyer (Prof. Whiting)

Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (Prof. Anker).

International Human Rights Clinic (Profs. Giannini and Farbstein).

Legal Profession Courses

Litigating in the Family Courts Clinic (Ms. Odim).

Mediation (Mr. Hoffman)

Negotiation Workshop (Prof. Mnookin)

Patent Litigation (Mr. Porcelli)

Post-Foreclosure Eviction Defense/Housing Law Clinic (Ms. McDonagh).

Predatory Lending and Consumer Protection Clinic (Mr. Bertling).

Security Litigation (Prof. Ferrell).

Supreme Court Litigation Clinic (Mr. Goldstein, Mr. Massey and Mr. Russell)

Trial Advocacy Workshop (Profs. Ogletree and Sullivan)

Faculty Advisors:

Elizabeth Bartholet

Jim Greiner

David Grossman

William Rubenstein

Carol Steiker

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Organizational Leadership

Social change requires not only mobilization, but also creating institutions capable of sustaining movement work. Building and leading lasting organizations of this kind depends on critical contributions from lawyers. This mode will enable students to understand the ways in which law can be instrumental to the development and leadership of social change organizations.

Recommended Courses:

HLS

Art of Social Change (Prof. Bartholet)

Government Lawyer (Prof. Whiting)

Prof. Dharan's Accounting and Financial Analysis Courses

Decision-making and Leadership in the Public Sector (Prof. Heymann)

Harvard Kennedy School (not all courses offered every year)

SUP-605m: Leading Cities

MLD-101:  Strategy  Structure, and Leadership in Public Service Organizations (multiple sections)

MLD-202: Exercising Leadership: A Cross-Cultural and International Perspective

MLD-325: Becoming a Leader

MLD-401A: Financial Management in Nonprofit and Public Organizations

MLD-601: Operations Management

Harvard Business School (not all courses offered every year)

Leading and Governing High Performing Nonprofit Organizations 

Authentic Leadership Development 

Faculty Advisors:

Elizabeth Bartholet

Robert Bordone

Gerald Frug

Brian Price

Benjamin Sachs

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Electoral Politics

Change often comes through the political arena, and perhaps no mode of change is more directly defined by law than electoral politics. Campaign finance laws and election law – along with the Constitutional issues they raise – form the heart of this Program mode, but union and non-profit participation in the electoral process is also crucial. 

Recommended Courses:

HLS

Administrative Law (Profs. Stephenson and Sunstein)

Litigation and Legislative Strategies for Latino Civil Rights Advocacy (Ms. Ramirez)

Local Government Law (Prof. Frug)

Harvard Kennedy School (not all courses offered every year)

DPI-324: Running for Office and Managing Campaigns 

Faculty Advisors:

Jim Greiner

Lani Guinier

Benjamin Sachs

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Media and the Internet

In contemporary society, almost no movement for social change succeeds without an effective media and internet component. Indeed all of the modes of social change listed here often depend heavily on the media and the internet. Legal regulation of these outlets is extensive, and understanding the ways in which law structures, facilitates, and constrains media and internet work is integral to understanding law and social change. 

Recommended Courses:

HLS

Communications and Internet Law and Policy (Prof. Benkler)

Comparative Online Privacy (Prof. Gasser)

Counseling and Legal Strategy in the Digital Age (Mr. Bavitz and Ms. Topelson)

Cyberlaw Clinic (Mr. Bavitz and Ms. Topelson)

Entertainment and Media Law (Mr. Brotman and Mr. Basin)

Music and Digital Media(Prof. Bavitz)

Harvard Kennedy School (not all courses offered every year)

DPI-685: 2025 Vision and Information Policy: Considering the Public Interest 

DPI-600: Press, Politics, and Public Policy 

DPI-659: Media, Politics and Power in the Digital Age 

Faculty Advisors:

Yochai Benkler

Jonathan Zittrain

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Areas of Social Change

Children, Youth, and Family: Health, Welfare, and Education

Recommended Courses:

HLS

Art of Social Change (Prof. Bartholet)

Child Advocacy Clinic (Prof. Bartholet)

Child Family and State (Prof. Bartholet)

Education Law Clinic (Ms. Cole and Prof. Gregory)

Education Law and Policy (Prof. Gregory)

Family Law (Prof. Ben-Asher)

Financial and Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households (Ms. Charn)

Future of the Family (Prof. Bartholet)

Litigating in the Family Courts Clinic (Ms. Odim).

Post-Foreclosure Eviction Defense/Housing Law Clinic (Ms. McDonagh).

Predatory Lending and Consumer Protection Clinic (Mr. Bertling).

Topics in Education Law and Policy (Prof. Brown-Nagin)

Trusts and Estates (Prof. Sitkoff)

Harvard Kennedy School (not all courses offered every year)

SUP-211: Institutional and Community-Based Strategies to Support Children and Strengthen Families

SUP-425m: Developing Effective School and Community Interventions for At-Risk Children 

Faculty Advisors:

Deborah Anker

Elizabeth Bartholet

Glenn Cohen

Martha Minow

Jeannie Suk

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Community Economic Development

Recommended Courses:
Faculty Advisors:

Lucie White

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Criminal Justice

Recommended Courses:

HLS

Criminal Law and Procedure Courses

Faculty Advisors:

Philip Heymann

Adriaan Lanni

Carol Steiker

Ron Sullivan

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Economic Justice

Recommended Courses:

HLS

Financial and Legal Needs of Law and Moderate Income Households (Ms. Charn)

Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (Prof. Grossman and Ms. Caramello)

Post-Foreclosure Eviction and Housing Law Clinic (Ms. McDonagh)

Predatory Lending and Consumer Protection Clinic (Mr. Bertling)

Taxation (Profs. Halperin, Kaplow, Shay and Warren

Trusts and Estates (Professor Sitkoff)

Faculty Advisors:

Elizabeth Bartholet

Christine Desan

Lani Guinier

Benjamin Sachs

Joseph Singer

Lucie White

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Environment

Recommended Courses:

HLS

Administrative Law (Profs. Stephenson and Sunstein)

Environmental Law Courses

Faculty Advisors:

Gerald Frug

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Gender and Sexuality

Recommended Courses:

HLS

Feminist Legal Theory (Prof. Halley)

Gender and Sexuality in Transnational Law (Prof. Halley)

Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice (Ms. Rosenfeld)

Gender Violence Legal Policy Workshop (Ms. Rosenfeld)

Reproductive Rights and Justice (Prof. Halley and Ms. Rosenman)

Sexuality, Gender and the Law (Prof. Ben-Asher)

Title IX: Sports, Sex and Equality on Campus (Ms. Rosenfeld)

Harvard Kennedy School (not all courses offered every year)

MLD-353M: Women and Leadership 

Faculty Advisors:

Deborah Anker

Glenn Cohen

Janet Halley

William Rubinstein

Jeannie Suk

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Health Care

Recommended Courses:

HLS

Administrative Law (Profs. Stephenson and Sunstein)

HLS Health Law Courses

Faculty Advisors:

Glenn Cohen

Robert Greenwald

Terry Fisher

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Immigration and Asylum

Recommended Courses:

HLS

Crimmigration: The Intersection of Criminal Law and Immigration Law (Mr. Torrey)

Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (Prof. Anker)

Immigration Law (Prof. Chacon)

Immigration Law: Policy and Social Change (Prof. Anker)

Harvard Kennedy School (not all courses offered every year)

SUP-311: The Economic Impact of Immigration 

Faculty Advisors:

Deborah Anker

Gerald Neuman

Benjamin Sachs

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International Human Rights

Recommended Courses:

HLS

Human Rights Courses

Faculty Advisors:

Susan Farbstein

Tyler Giannini

Martha Minow

Gerald Neuman

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Land Use and Property

Recommended Courses:

Environmental Law and Policy Clinic (Prof. Jacobs)

Local Government Law (Prof. Frug)

Transactional Practice Clinic (Prof. Price)

Faculty Advisors:

David Grossman

Gerald Frug

Joseph Singer

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National Security

Recommended Courses

The Internet: Governance and Power (Prof. Goldsmith)

National Security Law: Legal Frameworks and National Decision-making (Mr. Zarate)

Privacy, Technology and National Security (Prof. Heymann)

Selected Topics in National Security Law (Prof. Goldsmith)

Poverty

HLS Recommended Courses:

The Effects of Mass Incarceration: Experiences of Prison and Parole (Ms. Umunna)

Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (Prof. Grossman and Ms. Caramello)

Post-Foreclosure Eviction and Housing Law Clinic (Ms. McDonagh)

Predatory Lending and Consumer Protection Clinic (Mr. Bertling)

Faculty Advisors:

Elizabeth Bartholet

David Grossman

Carol Steiker

Lucie White

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Racial Justice

HLS Recommended Courses:

American Indian Law (Prof. Anderson)

Civil Liberties and the Second Reconstruction: Problems of Suppression, Violence and Covert Disruption (Prof. R. Kennedy)

Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers, Federalism, and Fourteenth Amendment (Profs. Brown-Nagin, Feldman, C. Fried, Klarman and Parker and Dean Minow)

Criminal Justice Institute: Criminal Defense Clinic (Prof. Sullivan)

Critical Race Theory (Prof. Mack)

Democracy, the Incomplete Experiment (Ms. Robinson)

The Effects of Mass Incarceration: Experiences of Prison and Parole (Ms. Umunna)

From Protest to Law: Triumphs and Defeats of the Civil Rights Revolution (Prof. R. Kennedy)

Race and Justice: The Wire (Prof. Ogletree)

Race and Politics (Ms. Robinson)

Faculty Advisors:

Elizabeth Bartholet

Lani Guinier

Randall Kennedy

Michael Klarman

Kenneth Mack

Martha Minow

Charles Ogletree

Joseph Singer

Carol Steiker

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Religious Freedom

Recommended Courses:

Constitutional Analysis (Prof. Clark)

Constitutional Law: First Amendment (Profs. Feldman, Field, Parker and Tushnet)

Laws, Markets, and Religions (Prof. Clark)

State Constitutional Law (Judge Sutton)

Harvard Kennedy School (not all courses offered every year)

DPI-342: Religion, Politics, and Public Policy

Faculty Advisors:

Noah Feldman

Martha Minow

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Workplace

Recommended Courses:

Advanced Readings in the Law of the Workplace (Prof. Sachs)

Employment Discrimination (Prof. Emens)

Employment Law (Prof. Sachs)

Employment Law Clinic (Mr. Churchill)

Faculty Advisors:

Elizabeth Bartholet

Benjamin Sachs

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The Dynamics of Social Change

The Program of Study is also designed to enable students to develop a range of methodological tools – including sociological, anthropological, and historical tools – that can be deployed to understand the relationship between law and social change, both historically and in contemporary society. Faculty available to assist students in this endeavor include Professors Chris Desan, Janet Halley, Michael Klarman, Adriaan Lanni, Ken Mack, Todd Rakoff, Jeannie Suk, and Jed Shugerman.

Academic Careers

Students who wish to pursue academic careers in this area should combine the course work discussed above with opportunities for significant research and writing.

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Last modified: August 28, 2014

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