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December 22, 2018


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Hedley Lamarr, Car Wreck Counselor at Law, 1-800-BIG CASH NOW

The issue is not whether any lawyer can make some sort of "change." Standing at the bench and advocating the constitutional rights and liberties of a client (fellow citizen) is what it's all about. An attorney is a walking embodiment and represents government, democracy, liberty, the rule of law in one package. When President Obama said, "Change has come," that was the perfect sentiment. HE was the embodiment of change...The representation of change was important in an abstract sense, whether he changed anything in a concrete way is up for discussion.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

On clinical legal education and other pedagogical possibilities and forms of praxis that might inspire and enable “transformative commitment” among would-be lawyers, please see, first:


Doug Richmond

I am unsure about the statement that "many students seek out elite legal education in order to change the world, lift up their fellow citizens, and seek justice." How many is "many"? I think it equally likely that "many"--perhaps even most--students who seek out elite legal education do so because (1) it leads to better professional opportunities upon graduation; and (2) it seems to be ingrained in "many" young men and women that you should attend the best school that will admit you.

Law Professor John Banzhaf

Professor Moyn is probably correct in concluding that most law school clinics and clinical assignments do not really and fundamentally change the world, lift up their fellow citizens, and seek justice.

But neither his article nor the critique seem to acknowledge that law students can partake of a clinical education in ordinary substantive-classroom courses and that, for many reasons, such non-clinic clinical projects have - and clearly have the potential to - fundamentally changed the world.

My law students, for example, started two major public health movements: the nonsmokers' rights movement of banning smoking in public places, work places, and even in private dwellings both here and abroad; and the fat-law-suit movement (with more than a dozen successful cases to date), showing that legal actions may have as much effect on our nation's second most important public health problem (obesity) as I have helped to make it have against the most important such problem (smoking).

Students in my class in Legal Activism (a/k/a/ "Sue the Bastards"), in which students learn how to be public interest lawyers capable of changing the world by bringing their own legal actions, helped to obtain disclosure of fats on most store-bought foods, brought the famous SCRAP case which helped to establish legal standing for organizations to challenge actions harming the environment, outlawed in several jurisdiction the common practice of charging women more than men to launder shirts, forced Agnew to return the money he took in bribes, obtained stronger warnings on birth control pills as well as safety standards for school buses, established that the FTC has the power to impose corrective advertising, and much much more.

For more information on providing clinical ("experiential") legal education without the many problems and limitations of conventional law school clinics, see:

For additional examples of how law students can bring and win world-changing legal actions, see:

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