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Access to Justice

Access to Justice - Professor Darleen Ortega

  • Course Number: LAW-372
  • Course Type: Highly Specialized
  • Credits: 2
  • Enrollment Limit: Determined by the Registrar
  • Description: This course explores Access to Justice, taken to mean the individual right to be able to access a system of justice on impartial terms. Many of us entered law because we cared about justice but, if we are honest, we notice that most of what we thought of as justice when we entered law school gets taken off the table in every discussion in favor of precedent or the judicial role or “neutrality” or “thinking like a lawyer.” The orientation for this course might be termed spiritual and dialogical, and aims to put back on the table many of the questions and concerns you arrived with that have been dismissed. What is missing from the concept of justice that you have been working with since you arrived? What is needed to equip you to ask the hard questions and develop the courage it takes to work for justice? What would justice even look like inside the current system, and how might the system need to shift to move toward justice? We will find answers together, and we will learn to hold questions open and struggle appropriately with discomfort, in hopes of finding even better answers than we can see on a given day.
  • Prerequisite: none
  • Evaluation Method: This is a dialogue-based class, so students will be evaluated on class participation with recognition that people participate differently based on temperament and social location. Evaluation will also be based on a paper on a relevant topic of the student’s choosing, subject to professor approval. Each student will also participate in leading a portion of one class.
  • Capstone: no
  • WIE: no