Civil Rights (CIGL)


Diversity is empowering. Studies show that more diverse and inclusive environments lead to greater creativity and productivity. Yet, the legal profession remains one of the least diverse professions in the United States. Why is embracing diversity such a challenge for the legal profession? Through the readings and class discussions this course will explore the topics of diversity, inclusion, cultural competence, and U.S. workplace practice. We will then examine some of the barriers faced by the legal profession such as “covering” and “unconscious bias”. Finally, we will examine the challenges law firms and their clients face with diversity and inclusion and innovative ways law firms and clients are advancing diversity and inclusion.

Attribute: LLM.


This seminar on Children and Immigration Law uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore emerging law, policy, research, and practice related to migrant children and their families. Following a human rights-based approach, classes will survey the key international and federal legal frameworks impacting children and their families in the context of migration. Students will be exposed to the complexity of legal issues that affect migrant children and youth as immigration law intersects with many other systems, including child welfare, juvenile and criminal justice, education, health, and employment, and will apply the law to individual case study scenarios as well as complex policy questions. Comparisons will be drawn to laws and policies in other countries. Guest speakers will be invited to present and participate in classes, emphasizing innovative strategies for promoting children’s rights in practice.

Attribute: INLJ.

CIGL 0230. CRITICAL RACE THEORY. (2 or 3 Credits)

In the mid-1980s, a new scholarly movement developed in legal academe, Critical Race Theory ("CRT"). Early advocates of CRT including Derrick Bell, Mari Matsuda, Charles Lawrence, Richard Delgado, Kimberle Crenshaw, and Patricia Williams challenged both the substance and style of conventional legal scholarship. Contrary to the traditional notion that racial subordination represents a deviation from the liberal legal ideal, this body of work recasts the role of law as historically central to and complicit in upholding racial hierarchy as well as other hierarchies of gender, class and sexual orientation. The goal of this seminar is to examine the genesis of CRT and, in light of its theoretical commitments, to explore CRT's possibilities and limitations with a close examination of the jurisprudence and application of its approaches with experiential learning classroom exercises and student discussion. Because of the additional CRT experiential learning hour students must co-register for the one credit "Critical Race Theory Experiential Learning" CRN 37088. The Final Grade calculation will be based on class room participation in the class discussions (quality, frequency, and attendance), a short Op-Ed drafting assignment, and a Take Home Examination Paper. Students may submit a Research Paper in lieu of the Take Home Examination Paper, only after having the paper topic certified with the Professor. The Research Paper can be considered for Upper Class Writing Requirement certification only by those students meeting the additional requirements for WR credit.

Attributes: JD, LLM, LWR, PIF.


Critical Race Theory Experiential Learning is a one credit additional component to the Critical Race Theory two credit seminar. Students must co-register for the two credit "Critical Race Theory" seminar (CRN 33660). The organizing principle for the experiential add on to the Critical Race Theory (CRT) course is to hone each student's capacity for cultural competency in their work as lawyers. Cultural competency is something that the American Bar Association and a growing number of state bar admission requirements highlight as a crucial professional skill. However, the CRT Experiential Learning component purposely avoids duplicating exercises already available to students in the clinic context and traditional simulation courses. Instead, CRT’s in-depth focus on cultural competency is designed to engage the students in learning how to anticipate and address professional issues of bias and cultural misunderstanding.

Attributes: EXP, LLM, PIF.

Prerequisite: CIGL 0230 (may be taken concurrently).

Corequisite: CIGL 0230.

CIGL 0521. LAW OF RACE. (3 Credits)

This course provides an historical overview of race in the American legal system. Moving from topics such as slavery and the early treatment of Native Americans to the modern era, the course traces the evolution and development of current legal doctrine pertaining to race and racial discrimination. Students will gain an understanding of the foundations of modern antidiscrimination law, as well as an appreciation of the predominant critiques of the U.S. Supreme Court's jurisprudence in race cases. In addition, they will be encouraged to assess current and proposed approaches to race and racial discrimination by looking at the operation of race in a number of contexts, including affirmative action, the criminal justice system, and intimate relationships.

Attributes: INLJ, JD, PIF.

CIGL 0551. POVERTY LAW. (2 or 3 Credits)

Although varied in its particulars, poverty in the United States is extensive. It is also disproportionately spread among the population, with African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans experiencing much higher levels of poverty, and a greater persistence of poverty, than other demographic groups. In this seminar, we will examine the extent of poverty in the United States and its root causes, as well as the historical development of social welfare policy. We will focus on the legal responses to poverty, exploring how the law shapes the lives of low-income people and communities. In particular, we will explore a rights-based approach to ameliorating poverty and the relevance of family form to poverty. In addition to weekly reflection papers, students will conduct independent research and write one long paper.

Attributes: INLJ, JD, PIE.