Lawyer as Public Citizen: Access to Justice

Law 492



Writing Experience (WE)



This transition to practice course will teach the principles of the lawyer as public citizenship and the profession’s obligations to facilitate access to justice for all through a combination of readings, discussions, practice simulations, drafting exercises, and guest speakers.  Major topics to be covered include the history of the provision of legal aid to the poor including the development of case law, legal policy, and legislation.  It will review the development of poverty law as a subject matter during the 1960s and 1970s, and the subsequent restrictions on legal resources for the poor, including federal legislative restrictions, challenges to law school clinical programs, and reduced opportunities to obtain attorney fees in civil rights cases.  The course will include a review of current efforts to expand access to justice for poor communities, examine developments in the area of pro bono and professional responsibility, the development of court sanctioned pro se opportunities, c community lawyering strategies, the civil Gideon movement, criminal indigent defense, and access to justice for special populations.  It will also provide students with practical skills and information about how the obligations of the lawyer as a public citizen may be achieved.  The course will meet several objectives: 1) to demonstrate the degree to which access to justice for the poor has been shaped by case law, legislation, innovations for self-represented litigants, and professional regulations; 2) to encourage students to contemplate their future role in the provision of legal services to under-represented clients; and 3) to introduce students to the advocacy skills and other practical knowledge required to fulfill their vision.

Intended for all 2Ls and for 3Ls. The course will complement clinics, professional responsibility, trial advocacy, appellate advocacy, evidence, civil rights, and legislative advocacy.

D. Weissman

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106 | Accessibility

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