Cause Lawyering
Elon Law School
Winter 2022
Room 105
Mondays & Wednesdays, 3:30-5:30 pm

Eric M. Fink
+1 336 279 9334
Office hours by appointment


3 January

Cause Lawyers

Anna-Maria Marshall & Daniel Crocker Hale, Cause Lawyering, 10 Annual Review of Law & Social Science 301 (2014)

Michael McCann, Law & Social Movements, in Sarat, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Law & Society 506 (2011)

Sandra Levitsky, Law and Social Movements: Old Debates and New Directions, in Sarat & Ewick, eds. The Handbook of Law and Society 382 (2015)

5 January

Social Movement Theory

David A. Snow, et al, Frame Alignment Processes, Micromobilization, and Movement Participation, 51 American Sociological Review 464 (1986)

J. Craig Jenkins, Resource Mobilization Theory and the Study of Social Movements, 9 Annual Review of Sociology 527 (1983)

Law, Lawyers & Movements

2 February

Litigation, Legislative, & Transactional Cause Lawyering

Anna-Maria Marshall, Social Movement Strategies & the Participatory Potential of Litigation, in Sarat & Scheingold, eds., Cause Lawyers & Social Movements 164 (2006)

Scott Barclay & Daniel Chomsky, How Do Cause Lawyers Decide When and Where to Litigate on Behalf of their Cause?, 48 Law & Society Review 595 (2014)

Kathleen M. Erskine and Judy Marblestone, The Movement Takes the Lead: The Role of Lawyers in the Struggle for a Living Wage in Santa Monica, California, in Sarat & Scheingold, eds., Cause Lawyers & Social Movements, in Sarat & Scheingold, eds., Sarat & Scheingold, eds., Cause Lawyers & Social Movements 249 (2006)

Jennifer Gordon, A Movement in the Wage of a New Law: The United Farm Workers & the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, in Sarat & Scheingold, eds., Cause Lawyers & Social Movements 277 (2006)

Aaron Porter, Norris, Schmidt, Green, Harris, Higginbothom & Associates: The Sociological Import of Philadelphia Cause Lawyers, in Cause Lawyering: Political Commitments and Professional Responsibilities 151 (1998)

Scott L. Cummings, Mobilization Lawyering: Community Economic Development in the Figueroa Corridor, in Sarat & Scheingold, eds., Cause Lawyers & Social Movements 302 (2006)

9 February

Movements & Counter-Movements

David S. Meyer & Suzanne Staggenborg, Movements, Countermovements, and the Structure of Political Opportunity, 101 American Journal of Sociology 1628 (1996)

Francisco Valdes, Culture, “Kulturkampf”, and Beyond: The Antidiscrimination Principle under the Jurisprudence of Backlash, in The Blackwell Companion to Law & Society, Chap. 15

Michael McCann & Jeffrey Dudas, Retrenchment … and Resurgence? Mapping the Changing Context of Movement Lawyering in the United States, in Sarat & Scheingold, eds., Cause Lawyers & Social Movements 37 (2006)

Thomas M. Keck, Beyond Backlash: Assessing the Impact of Judicial Decisions on LGBT Rights, 43 Law & Society Review 151 (2009)

Michael Dorf & Sidney Tarrow, Strange Bedfellows: How an Anticipatory Countermovement Brought Same-Sex Marriage into the Public Arena, 39 Law & Social Inquiry 449 (2014)

14 February

Determinants and Meaning of Success

Erik Johnson, Social Movement Size, Organizational Diversity and the Making of Federal Law, 86 Social Forces 967 (2008)

Anne Bloom, Practice Style and Successful Legal Mobilization, Law & Contemporary Problems (2008)

Melinda D. Kane, You’ve Won, Now What? The Influence of Legal Change on Gay and Lesbian Mobilization, 1974-1999, 51 Sociological Quarterly 255 (2010)

Kenneth T. Andrews and Sarah Gaby, Local Protest and Federal Policy: The Impact of the Civil Rights Movement on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 30 Sociological Forum 509 (2015)

16 February

Critical Appraisals

Sandra R. Levitsky, To Lead with Law: Reassessing the Influence of Legal Advocacy Organizations in Social Movements, in Sarat & Scheingold, eds., Cause Lawyers & Social Movements 145 (2006)

Thomas Hilbink, The Profession, the Grassroots & the Elite: Cause Lawyering for Civil Rights & Freedom in the Direct Action Era, in Sarat & Scheingold, eds., Cause Lawyers & Social Movements 60 (2006)

Tifanei Ressl-Moyer, Pilar Gonzalez Morales & Jaqueline Aranda Osorno, Movement Lawyering During a Crisis: How the Legal System Exploits the Labor of Activists and Undermines Movements, 24 CUNY Law Review 91 (2021)

Scott L. Cummings, Rethinking the Foundational Critiques of Lawyers in Social Movements, 85 Fordham Law Review (2017)

Case Studies

21 February

The Scottsboro Trials

Robin D.G. Kelley, In the Heart of Trouble: Race, Sex, & the ILD, Chap. 4 in Hammer & Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression (1990)

Charles H. Martin, The International Labor Defense and Black America, 26 Labor History 165 (1985)

Hollace Randsell, Conflict Between Rival Organizations for Control of the Case, from Report on the Scottsboro, Ala. Trials, prepared for the ACLU (1931)

American Experience, Scottsboro: An American Tragedy

Norris v. Alabama, 294 U.S. 587 (1935)

Patterson v. Alabama, 294 U.S. 600 (1935)

23 February

Brown v. Board of Education

Scott Baker & Gary Biglaiser, A Model of Cause Lawyering, 43 Journal of Legal Studies 37 (2014)

Derrick A. Bell, Jr., Serving Two Masters: Integration Ideals & Client Interests in School Desegregation Litigation, 85 Yale Law Journal 470 (1976)

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 349 U.S. 294 (1955)

Gerald Rosenberg, The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change? 42-57 (2d ed. 2008)

Erika Frankenberg, What school segregation looks like in the US today, in 4 charts, The Conversation (July 19, 2019)

28 February

Shelley v. Kraemer

Jeffrey D. Gonda, Unjust Deeds: The Restrictive Covenant Cases and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement (2015).

  • Introduction—Restrictive Covenants, Housing Rights, and the Civil Rights Movement
  • Chap. 2—Courtrooms: Local Lawyers and Legal Activism
  • Chap. 3—The NAACP: National Leadership and Housing Desegregation
  • Chap. 5—Failures and Foundations: The Covenant Cases and Postwar Black Freedom Struggles

Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948)

Robert K. Nelson and Edward L. Ayers, eds., American Panorama: An Atlas of United States History, University of Richmond Digital Scholarship Lab

  • Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America, Greensboro, NC
  • Renewing Indquality: Urban Renewal, Family Displacements, and Race, 1955-1966 Greensboro, NC

Cheryl Thompson, Racial covenants, a relic of the past, are still on the books across the country, National Public Radio (Nov. 17, 2021)

Student Presentations

March 2, 7, & 9