Critical Lawyering in Today’s World

My pledge on July 4th was, in addition to continuing to pay attention and “seek accountability from those who have attacked and undermined our democracy,” to “work to shore up systems – and create new ones – that protect and empower our Democratic ideals; not only to protect against further erosion, but also to work, always, toward a more perfect union.”  So that’s what I have spent the last month trying to do.

In particular, I have designed and am preparing to teach a law school seminar called Critical Lawyering in Today’s World.  As the syllabus describes:  “Students will read and discuss a cross-section of writing on narrative theory, intersectionality, critical race theory, gender theory and critical lawyering theory. The principal focus of the class will be to determine how these theories bear on the real-world work of lawyering in today’s world.”

In other words, the course is my way of trying to figure out — with my students and for myself — what we need as critical lawyers to do our job in these times.  And, even more broadly, what we all need, as critical resisters and guardians of democracy, to do our jobs in these times.

I hope we will discover some answers together over the next few months.  I will post every week about the assignment and materials covered for each class, as well as the discussions we have in the classroom.  I know some of my students subscribe to this blog (thank you!), and hope that they will feel empowered to contribute to the conversation publicly, if they are so moved.  And I invite all of my blog readers and muses to jump right in as well.  If you want to follow along, here is the syllabus: Grose Syllabus FA17

The course will, in part, revolve around a podcast, called “74 Seconds,” produced by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), that reports on and analyzes the events surrounding the police shooting of Philando Castile in July, 2016.  You can subscribe to the podcast here.

In next week’s inaugural class, we start with my two favorite tools of effective critical lawyering (and resisting):  narrative theory and critical reflection.  We will develop discussion guidelines and ground rules, because any good consideration of critical lawyering must be based on a foundation of trust and respect.  And then we will jump right in.  Hope you’ll join us.