Duke Law School Offers ‘Social Justice Lawyering’ Class

Toni Airaksinen Toni Airaksinen is a senior at Barnard College in NYC, and a contributor to Campus Reform, USA TODAY College, and PJ Media. She tweets @Toni_Airaksinen.
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Duke University Law School is offering a fall semester class for future lawyers who wish to promote social justice.

The class, “Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering,” will be taught by Professor Hannah Demeritt and will instruct future lawyers about professional responsibility and the ethical challenges they might face in “lawyering for social justice.”

These challenges include “representing clients who are uneducated or culturally different than the attorney” and the problems that could arise when a lawyer’s “vision of social justice” is in conflict with the requirements of professional responsibility.

During the course, students will learn “the lawyering skills needed to ethically represent clients and social causes, through in-class resolution of hypotheticals and experiential learning, such as simulations or role-playing,” according to the course description. (RELATED: Stanford Prof: Calling Homework Easy is a ‘Microaggression’)


Professor Demeritt told The Daily Caller that the course is one of many classes the school offers to teach students about ethics. “A legal ethics course of some sort is required for graduation from all ABA-accredited law schools,” she noted.

Demeritt also said her class caters to the students who already have an interest in social justice. “My class is not designed to encourage students to pursue practice in any area of law, but merely to accommodate those who already have a chosen interest.”

A spokesman for Duke University Law School reiterated that the class is one of many classes they offer, designed to “prepare students for issues they will face in a wide range of legal careers, including private practice, in-house counsel, government service, and public interest work.”

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