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Social Justice Monday: 2014/15

Social Justice Monday is an organized, weekly series hosted by the Access to Justice Institute in partnership with students, student organizations, and other departments across the law school.

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Social Justice Monday Topics

April 13, 2015 - Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security

Social Justice Monday—April 13, 2015
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was established after 9/11 to secure the nation from possible threats. Customs and Border Protection is the largest agency in the Department of Homeland Security, and the largest law enforcement agency in the United States. As a result, the U.S. border has become increasingly militarized with technology and manpower in the name of national security – but at what cost? In the book, Border Patrol Nation, Todd Miller reports on the increasing militarization of both the northern and southern U.S. border and its effects on border communities.

Todd Miller shared his research and experience this Social Justice Monday.

If you’re interested in learning more, we have these items in Seattle University’s law library:

February 23, 2015 - Poverty Traps in Criminalized Communities: A Life Sentence of Debt and Unemployment

Social Justice Monday – February 23, 2015
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

There is a national crisis regarding policing, prosecution and imprisonment of low-income communities of color and sexual minorities. The events surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have drawn attention to the criminalization of minority communities and the economic justice impacts. Entering the criminal justice system often ends up being a life sentence of debt and unemployment because formerly incarcerated people are saddled with fees and restitution as part of the criminal judgment even after they serve their time. They cannot earn enough wages to pay off those fines, let alone live off of, because of many employers’ unwillingness to hire anyone with a criminal history.

Vanessa Hernandez of the ACLU of Washington, Nick Allen ’10 of Columbia Legal Services, and Rolando Avila of the Statewide Poverty Action Network shared about the collateral consequences of incarceration which include legal financial obligations and bars to employment.

Looking to learn more? You may be interested in:

February 9, 2015 - Intellectual Property and 3D Printing: Exploring the Intersections

Social Justice Monday – February 9, 2015
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

3D printing has emerged as one of the most significantly disruptive technologies in the digital economy. It has the potential to revolutionize (and improve) many aspects of our lives, in much the same way the Internet has revolutionized communication. The technology’s potential as a game changer presents challenging legal questions. Before long, legislatures, judges and policy-makers are likely to be called upon to regulate aspects of 3D printing and sort out numerous IP issues that arise from consumers’ use of the technology.

In his presentation, Professor Teshager Dagne addressed the following questions: Is it possible to balance the rights of consumers, innovators, and other stakeholders in resolving conflict of rights in IP law that will arise in 3D printing? How would IP law best achieve social justice through greater access for everyone to culture, knowledge, information and education in the use of the technology?

Looking to learn more? You may be interested in:

February 2, 2015 - Transactional Lawyers: Not Just Paper Pushers, More Like Agents of Change

Social Justice Monday – February 2, 2015
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

Millions of dollars, major deals, big contracts and… marginalized and low-income communities? How do those things go together and where do lawyers fit into that equation? Litigators seem to gain all the attention with headline cases and television shows, but meanwhile, transactional lawyers are quietly making an incredible impact especially in underserved communities. Three Seattle University law school alumni discussed how to make a difference through transactional legal work:

Peter Smith ‘09 is a partner at the Apex Law Group who focuses on providing counsel to enterprises – non-profits, for-profits and businesses seeking to make a social impact. Social enterprise corporations include ones like EcoStoves which makes clean burning, portable wood and charcoal powered cookstoves and distributes them to developing countries.

Andra Kranzler ‘11 is the Community and Economic Development Manager for Skyway Solutions which works in community-building, equitable development, and neighborhood revitalization in Southeast Seattle. Prior to joining Skyway, Andra worked at Columbia Legal Services advocating for race equity in hiring. Through her work with other partners, the Seattle City Council passed the Priority Hiring Ordinance which requires a percentage of city-funded construction projects be performed by residents from economically distressed areas of Seattle and King County.

Erica Wolf ‘05 is the Executive Director of the law school’s Center for Indian Law & Policy and teaches the Indian Trusts & Estates Clinic. Erica works with law students to provide free legal services to assist Indian people in making informed decisions about their property and provide estate planning services. Through these services, they are working to reduce fractionation of Indian land.

Looking to learn more? You may be interested in:

January 26, 2015 - Ready, Set, Go Pro Bono!

Social Justice Monday – January 26, 2015
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

As a law student there are countless ways you can make a real-world impact on the communities and issues you care most about while furthering your legal knowledge and practice skills in the process. This highly interactive Social Justice Monday brought pro bono opportunities to students. Students met and spoke with several attorneys and law students who lead pro bono projects out in the local community and right here at the law school. As they rotated through several projects, students learned about legal issues facing underserved and marginalized communities, connected with practitioners and other law students, and found projects or internships to participate in.

The following speakers and organizations spoke at the event:

You may be interested in:

January 12, 2015 - Taking Action through Pro Bono & Experiential Learning

Social Justice Monday – January 12, 2015
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

The speakers at the first Social Justice Monday of the Spring had a conversation about opportunities for students to make the most of their short time as a law student. Students learned how, when, and why to make time to complement their classroom learning with real-world experience. They also got a nuts-and-bolts overview of how to access pro bono, externship, and clinical experiences as well as a preview of the new Introduction to Practice Course. Additionally, they discovered the many resources and opportunities available at the law school to help build skills and make the transition from student to lawyer.

Several faculty and staff participated in this conversation, including: Steven Bender, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and Professor of Law; Gillian Dutton, Director of the Externship Program and Associate Professor of Lawyering; Paul Holland, Associate Professor of Law, former Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and former Director of the Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic; Anna Ross, Associate Director, Center for Professional Development; and Diana Singleton, Director, Access to Justice Institute.

November 10, 2014 - Religious Freedom After Hobby Lobby: Washington Law and the Religious Exemption Description

Social Justice Monday – November 10, 2014
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

Leah Rutman of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and Zachary Pekelis Jones of Perkins Coie discussed the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and its impact on jurisprudence and issues in Washington State. The controversial 2014 decision gives closely-held, for-profit corporations an exemption from the law if its owners object on a religious basis. In particular, the Court struck down the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers to cover certain contraceptives for their female employees. In addition to the headline issue of women’s access to affordable contraception, this case has bearing on other cases in which employers seek religious exemptions from laws they find objectionable.

November 3, 2014 - No Closure on Foreclosure: The Crisis Isn't Over

Social Justice Monday – November 3, 2014
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

Today, roughly seven years after the housing bubble burst, hundreds of thousands of homeowners still face foreclosure. Some things have changed. The over 1.8 million foreclosures recorded nationally in 2012 were down 36% from the peak of the foreclosure crisis in 2010. Underwriting guidelines and regulations are stricter. The face of foreclosure has also shifted. What remains the same is the devastating impact foreclosures have on families and communities. Speakers included: Northwest Justice Project Attorney Eulalia (Lili) Sotelo, SU Law Student Ingrid Zerpa, and Ark Law Group Attorney Nadia Kourehdar ’12.

October 27, 2014 - Low Bono: An Entrepreneurial and Social Justice Approach to Law Practice

Social Justice Monday – Monday October 27, 2014
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

Critics say we have a glut of attorneys in our country and the legal market is saturated. At the same time, over 80% of moderate income people forego hiring a lawyer simply because they can’t afford it. They fall in the gap of not qualifying for pro bono legal assistance because their income is too high and not making enough money to pay market rates. A growing number of new lawyers, in particular,  are taking an entrepreneurial approach to their legal career by launching low bono practices providing affordable legal services to middle income people. Speakers included Eleanor Doermann ’12, Owner of Pathway Law, Mikel Carlson ’12, Owner of Carlson Law Firm, Paula Martinez, Attorney at Colectiva Legal del Pueblo, and Daniel Parker, 3L Intern at the Moderate Means Program.

October 20, 2014 - #DomesticViolence: Does Media Coverage Help or Hurt?

Social Justice Monday - Monday October 20, 2014
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

In recent weeks, awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault has increased as high profile cases receive extensive coverage in the news and on social media. Is this trend increasing awareness and dialogue or reinforcing sensationalism and stereotypes? Can media attention further real individual or community action and reform? In this spirited and interactive session offered as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, attorneys and advocates discuss the ways in which they support survivors of domestic violence, the media’s influence on domestic violence, and how students can actively engage in these issues. Speakers included David Martin ‘97, Chair of the Domestic Violence Unit at the King County Prosecutor’s Office, Amanda Irwin, Accredited Representative at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and Michael Russo, Adjunct Professor at Seattle University School of Law.

October 13th, 2014 - Hospital Mergers: Shrinking or Growing Access to Health Care?

Social Justice Monday - October 13th, 2014
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

Dean Annette Clark moderated a discussion on healthcare access with Leah Rutman from the ACLU of Washington and Janet Chung from Legal Voice.

A recent wave of mergers between secular and Roman Catholic hospitals is raising the question of whether access to health care is shrinking or growing. Patient rights advocates are concerned that people will not be able to get medical care involving abortions, contraceptives, end of life directives, and other procedures that are prohibited by Catholic religious beliefs. Advocates are saying access to health care is shrinking as now almost half of the state’s hospitals are owned by Catholic institutions and are the only medical provider in some rural areas. Catholic-owned hospitals, however, say that they are providing increased access to health care especially in areas where independent hospitals are facing economic hardship and are looking for partners to help prevent them from closing their doors.

October 6, 2014 - Sex, Money, and Irrationality

Social Justice Monday – October 6, 2014
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

Professor Julie A. Nice explored constitutionally permissible government “irrationality.”

The lowest level of scrutiny that a court must apply when considering constitutional questions of due process or equal protection is a “rational basis review,” where a rule must simply be “rationally related” to a “legitimate” governmental reason. Both courts and mainstream commentators have long recited the mantra that government classifications are presumptively rational when they do not infringe a "fundamental right" or a "suspect class." Yet in the context of sexuality, recently this norm has been shifting as courts have sided with LGBT persons in many cases, finding that governmental classifications are failing to even meet the minimum standard of rational basis review. At the same time, almost nothing the government does to impoverished people has been deemed to be irrational by the courts. By comparing the legal regulation of sexuality and poverty, Professor Julie A. Nice explored constitutionally permissible government “irrationality.”

Following Professor Nice’s presentation, Seattle University professors Tayyab Mahmud and Dean Spade joined in the discussion.

September 29, 2014 - Not Your Grandma’s Law Practice: Leveraging Technology and Innovation to Improve Access to Legal Services

Monday, September 29, 2014
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

Dan Lear ‘07 and Greg McLawsen discussed how emerging ideas, innovations and technologies are fundamentally changing everything from retail to hospitality and from transportation to finance and how these changes can and should inform the practice of law and access to justice.

September 22, 2014 - What's Law Got to do With It?

Social Justice Monday – September 22, 2014
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

Professor Deb Eddy discussed how federal and state law stops short of establishing any effective legal framework for megacities like Seattle to meet 21st Century challenges such as social inequality and economic isolation. Existing regional entities are constitutionally or statutorily hamstrung from offering much real assistance. In addition, she discussed her vision for how lawyers can advocate for effective institutional change. Here are some resources in our law library that deal with themes mentioned in the discussion.

September 15, 2014 - Investing in the Future: Working with Youth at Seattle University

Social Justice Monday – September 15, 2014
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

This Social Justice Monday facilitated an engaging presentation on some issues local youth face and how students can engage with them through projects right here on campus. Here are some resources in our law library that deal with themes mentioned in the discussion.

September 8, 2014 - A Conversation with Two Equal Justice Leaders: “Wait, Why Did I Come to Law School?”

Social Justice Monday – September 8, 2014
Submitted by Justin Abbasi, Law Library Intern

Timothy Harris, Founding Director of Real Change newspaper, and Aurora Martin, Executive Director of Columbia Legal Services, shared their personal and professional stories in order to facilitate a discussion about why our community needs lawyers and the kind of lawyers it needs. Here are some books in our law library that deal with similar themes that were mentioned in the discussion.