Category Archives: Teaching

Extended Deadline, Call-for-Papers: “Poverty Law: Academic Activism,” Seattle University, Feb. 19-20, 2016

[Cross-posted from the Poverty Law blog]

Extended Deadline, Call-for-Papers: “Poverty Law: Academic Activism,” Seattle University, Feb. 19-20, 2016.  Deadline for submissions extended to July 1, 2015.  Full information here: Poverty Law Conference 2016 Call-for-Proposals Extended Deadline.

Upcoming program: The Great Society in Florida at 50: A Look Back, A Look Forward

The University of South Florida St. Petersburg Department of History and Politics has organized a wonderful discussion series that looks at the impact of “The Great Society” on Florida and on the nation, while also debating the future of “the Great Society,” and programs inspired by its vision. The week-long program, which places a specific emphasis on the Great Society as a grassroots movement, will begin next week. The local NPR station did a story on the program, which includes an interview with Elisa Minoff, Assistant Professor of History at USFP, as well as Florida legal services pioneer Joe Segor, who talks about the challenges that Florida Rural Legal Services faced in the mid 1960s, the impact of their work, and the ongoing critical need to provide farm workers and the rural poor with legal assistance and social services.war_on_poverty_usf

A flyer of the full program can be accessed here.

Call-for-Proposals: Poverty Law: Academic Activism Conference — Seattle University School of Law — Feb. 19-20, 2016

(Cross-posted from the Poverty Law blog.)

Call-for-Proposals: Poverty Law: Academic Activism Conference — Seattle University School of Law — Feb. 19-20, 2016 .

Call for Proposals:

We invite proposals for presentations at a Spring 2016 conference, “Poverty Law: Academic Activism” to be held on Feb. 19-20, 2016, hosted by Seattle University School of Law.  The conference will focus on the connection between academics and activism, broadly understood.  Just as “poverty law” is a broad category that includes everything from welfare and education programs to immigration and tax policy, so too, “academic activism” includes a wide range of activities.  This conference will explore how members of the legal community directly engage with activists to effect social, legal, and policy changes; how scholarship can help improve the lives of the poor; and how to educate the next generation of poverty warriors.

The conference is organized around these three tracks – direct engagement, scholarship, and teaching – and the hope that the conference will be a large gathering of those whose work (including direct involvement as well as scholarship) focuses on or relates to poverty law.  The deadline for proposals is Friday, April 24, 2015.  Please submit the title of your presentation with an abstract or overview of no more than 300 words to erosser@wcl.american.  To submit a full panel presentation, include the above information for all panelists.

Additionally, for those who are interested (though this is not a requirement for participation in the conference), conference participants may have publication opportunities with both the Seattle Journal for Social Justice and the Seattle Law Review.  Conference attendees will be responsible for their own travel expenses. We look forward to seeing you in Seattle in Feb. 2016!

If you have any questions, please contact the conference organizers: Sara Rankin (Seattle University School of Law) and Ezra Rosser (American University Washington College of Law)

A pdf copy of the CFP can be found here.


Happening now: The New Prosperity Law: Expanding Opportunity and Reducing Inequality – 50 Years After the War on Poverty

TheNewProsperityLawWebbannerThe New Prosperity Law: Expanding Opportunity and Reducing Inequality – 50 Years After the War on Poverty is held at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Oct. 16-17th, 2014.

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, which is an important time to reflect on the role that law schools and lawyers have played, and can continue to play, in efforts to reduce inequality and expand opportunity. In the War on Poverty, law schools and lawyers were central actors in a coordinated strategy to end poverty by establishing constitutional protections and substantive rights for the poor. Within a decade of its inception, however, the substantive antipoverty movement gave way to a procedural access to justice agenda. Political battles over resources for legal services were at the heart of this shift, reflecting larger trends of decentralization (from federal to state) and privatization (from the government to the market). As a result, legal antipoverty efforts today are much more local, varied and diffuse than during the War on Poverty.   This symposium will examine lessons from the last fifty years, consider emerging anti-poverty efforts, explore shifts in the funding landscape and identify strategies to reinvigorate the role of law schools and lawyers in a new antipoverty agenda.”

Details and the agenda can be found on the conference website:


Report on Hamline University’s War on Poverty Week

By Marie Failinger

As part of the national commemoration of the War on Poverty, Hamline University held its War on Poverty Week from September 8-12, 2014. In addition to library displays at the law school and college libraries on the War on Poverty, the Law School and Social Justice Program of the College of Liberal Arts hosted three speakers.

Former USDA Undersecretary Bud Philbrook traced the history of government food programs such as WIC and Food Stamps, and discussed current efforts by governments and NGOs around the world to focus on providing comprehensive medical care, nutrition and education services to pregnant women and small children during the first few years of life, when children gain virtually all of their IQ points. Without these assets, children become stunted, which has tragic effects on their ability to learn and participate as productive citizens.   His presentation can be viewed at this Blackboard link:

Sociologist Ryan LeCount discussed the racialized history of the War on Poverty welfare programs, and the use of racial stereotypes against political candidates in the last decades of presidential elections.   He presented studies showing how historical and current attitudes toward welfare have been shaped by images of women of color, particularly African American women, as unwilling to work; and how these images have also made an impact on welfare policy, including discriminatory targeting of African Americans for welfare sanctions. LeCount also discussed the documented ways in which this discriminatory administration of welfare programs has resulted in worse life outcomes for targeted welfare recipients, including their low level of civic engagement.  His presentation can be viewed at this Blackboard link:

Health law professor Laura Hermer traced the history of medical assistance programs in the United States, discussed the changes made by the Affordable Care Act in these programs, and discussed projections for health care coverage among the poor and prospects for health care programs in the future.

Roundtable discussion re-evaluating “The Culture of Poverty”

The Society Pages invited three renowned scholars — Kaaryn Gustafson, Professor at UCI’s School of Law; Mark Gould, Professor of Sociology at Haverford College; and Mario Luis Small, Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, to a roundtable discussion on the lasting significance of the “culture of poverty” rhetoric, and what social scientists could do to contribute to (or end) this debate.

Read more at:

Poverty and Place Conference, November 13-14, 2014, UC Davis

povertyandplace_0In November 2014, the Center for Poverty Research will host the conference “Poverty and Place,” which focuses on the implications of geography and population density have for poverty.

This conference brings together a unique mix of researchers, policy professionals and industry leaders to discuss their work studying the people, geography, and the safety net as it relates to persistent poverty.

When: Thursday, November 13, 2014 – Friday, November 14, 2014

Where: Memorial Union, MU II Room UC Davis Campus

More information at the Poverty and Place conference website.

Upcoming Events: Hamline University’s War on Poverty Week

Hamline University will be hosting a War on Poverty Week next week (week of September 7, 2014), which will be open to the entire university and to the general public. It will be webcast and will include three lectures and War on Poverty displays in both law and undergraduate libraries.

Hamline lectures:   Former USDA deputy undersecretary of agriculture Bud Philbrook will speak on international recognition of the right to adequate nutrition and health care.  Hamline Law faculty and network member Laura Hermer will provide a historical review and  legal assessment of the major health programs for the poor including the Kerr-Mills Act, Medicaid and the ACA expansions. Hamline sociologist Ryan LeCount will discuss the racialization of welfare policies in poverty programs in the last quarter-century.

More information and links to the webcast will be posted next week.

Oral history interview with Clint Bamberger available online

bamberger_ohThe interview with Clinton (“Clint”) Bamberger was conducted by Christopher Brown on June 4, 2002 on behalf of the National Equal Justice Library Oral History Project. After graduating from Loyola College (Baltimore) in 1949 and from Georgetown University Law Center with a J.D. in 1951, Bamberger worked for the Baltimore firm of Piper & Marbury, where he became a partner in 1960. While at Piper & Marbury, he was involved in insurance litigation and also served as the attorney for death row inmate John L. Brady in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), in which the Supreme Court ruled that withholding exculpatory evidence from the defendant violated the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Bamberger recalls how he became involved in the case through a friend, a Jesuit priest who served as chaplain in the Maryland penitentiary, who asked him to look into the case a few weeks before John Brady’s execution had been scheduled. It was the first time Bamberger argued a case before the Supreme Court. While he lost the case (the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals of Maryland), Brady’s life was saved, and the precedent for the Brady disclosure established.


Press conference announcing the Houston Legal Services Program, April 1966: Sargent Shriver with Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach and Clinton Bamberger (front). Photographer unknown. Clinton Bamberger photo collection, National Equal Justice Library, Georgetown Law Library.

In response to the question how he got from the small Baltimore law firm of Piper and Marbury to become the director of the national legal services program, Bamberger remarks that, “it was kind of a different time than it is now; that major lawyers, leaders of major law firms, were publicly involved in the… major social questions of that time – which was civil rights.” Bamberger had done some public interest and legal aid work in Baltimore, and been following the effort to establish a federal program to provide financial support for civil legal services to the poor. He decided to attend the ABA meeting in 1965, where part of the program was focused on discussing the federally funded legal services program. There, he met Kenneth Pye, who was then associate dean at Georgetown. Pye introduced him to Howard Westwood, who was then a partner at Covington & Burling, who was very involved in the legal aid movement, who helped recruit Bamberger to become the first Director of the Legal Services Program (LSP) within the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). What the program needed was “somebody who would disarm any opposition in the organized bar,” he said. While at OEO/LSP Bamberger spent much time delivering speeches, attempting to garner support for the new government program at various Bar meetings. “While the ABA was supportive there was a lot of opposition at the local level.” Some of the opposition came from some of the older legal aid societies, who were concerned about the effects of the new program on their established structures, and troubled by the grassroots components of the Community Action Programs, especially the provision in the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act that programs should be developed with the “maximum feasible participation of residents of the areas and members of the groups served.”  Under his leadership, the OEO-LSP expanded rapidly. In mid-1966, Bamberger left the program to run for State Attorney General of Maryland. That campaign was unsuccessful and Bamberger returned to Piper & Marbury until 1969. There, he continued to be active in legal services work and was on the recruitment committee for the Reginald Heber Smith fellowships.

In 1969, Bamberger became Dean of the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America, where he established one of the first clinical programs in the country, and taught Civil Procedure and Professional Responsibility. In 1975, Bamberger left Catholic University to become the Executive Vice President of the Legal Services Corporation. Maintaining that he had spent much time as a legal services bureaucrat and advocate, and never as a legal services attorney, Bamberger left the Legal Services Corporation in 1979 to become a staff attorney and clinical instructor at the Legal Services Institute (LSI) in Boston, where he worked closely with Gary Bellow and Jeanne Charn. Controversy and politics surrounding LSI forced Bamberger’s departure. In 1982, Bamberger became Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Education at the School of Law of the University of Maryland. While at the University of Maryland, he served as the attorney for Denise Sampson in Ronald Fishkind Realty v. Sampson, 306 Md. 269, 286, 508 A.2d 478, 487 (1986). Bamberger became very involved in international legal aid, especially in South Africa, Australia, Nepal, and the Netherlands, and frequently traveled abroad, lecturing about international legal aid and clinical education. He retired emeritus from the University of Maryland in 1991.

In addition to the oral history interview, the NEJL collections include the Clinton Bamberger Papers, a rich resource of many unique materials documenting Bamberger’s career, as well as the development of legal services since the 1960s.

Katharina Hering