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Spring 2025 Course

Systemic Justice Advanced Lawyering

Prerequisite: By Permission. Students interested in applying to be admitted to the fall semester course (or both semesters) should submit a short (300 word maximum) statement of interest to Professor Hanson. The statement should summarize the student’s motivation for taking the course(s) and any relevant experience the student has. Students interested in learning more about the course(s) should email Professor Hanson ( and Carol Igoe ( (please include “Systemic Justice Lawyering” in the subject line).

Interested students will also be invited to an information session (details tba) about the two courses to learn more. 

Exam Type: No Exam

This course is the second of two related (3-credit) courses designed to help law students identify, prepare for, and enter careers devoted to advancing systemic justice. 

Promoting “systemic justice” involves reshaping narratives, systems, structures, and institutions to alter both incentives and outcomes in ways that meaningfully and sustainably change background power dynamics and disrupt and undermine systemic injustices. “Systemic injustices” include harms and inequalities, such as mass incarceration and anti-Black racism, extreme wealth inequalities and poverty, climate change, environmental destruction, the unequal impact of COVID-19, corporate capture, corporate misdeeds, and the variety of problems associated with inadequate, unequal, and ill-distributed resources for housing, food, health care, transportation, and so on.

The two courses will present students with a robust range of theoretical and practical lessons, from a wide range of guest speakers, including different types of practicing attorneys, organizers, journalists, legislators, scholars, and more. Students are encouraged to consider both courses. Doing so will allow students to benefit from the ability to engage deeply with each other, the materials, and team projects over the course of the academic year. In the process, the course will help foster a justice-oriented community  and network within and beyond the law school.

The first course – taught during the fall semester – will present students with the legal theoretical framework for understanding systemic injustices, their causes, and strategies for addressing them. That will be followed by a series of “case stories” presented in partnership with attorneys and other practitioners working to promote justice. The case stories will demonstrate the various dimensions of advancing systemic justice-from storytelling and organizing to agonistic engagement and impact litigation. (Students will also have opportunities to receive mentorship and career advising from those and other attorneys.)

This spring course, the Advanced Systemic Justice Lawyering course, will allow students to work on a small-group project targeting a particular social problem. These projects will require the application of the theory of change and particular skills taught during the first semester and will again involve  working with lawyers with pertinent expertise and others doing adjacent work. Students will also participate in a series of skills workshops to help them sharpen their practical lawyering skills and prepare them for careers promoting systemic justice.