The dominant model of legal education that views law as a commodity has been historically predicated on the “rule of law” as its base line with little emphasis on the relationship between Law and the notions of justice, equality and dignity. However, the effects of the global financial crisis and the ensuing broad cross-sector social alliances around issues of exclusion and inequality have helped challenge the continued desirability and viability of this model of education that is divorced from any discussion on justice.
Today, there is an ongoing debate –both in the Global South and the Global North– regarding possible reforms to the current legal education system and model. We posit that the stage is now set for a critical and interdisciplinary look at legal education (and higher education as a whole) and how the access and content of education can be improved in ways that would promote justice and anti-subordination practices.
The ongoing debate on legal education reforms has largely drowned out concerns for critical social justice values, as austerity economic measures become increasingly hegemonic in the conception of possible reforms. In contrast, we propose that as new educational paradigms are discussed and developed they should avoid the exacerbation of traditional inequities based on race, gender, class and other identity categories, and their intersectional interplay. This program seeks proposals on the promotion of reforms anchored in crucial social justice values that respect difference and diversity across multiple categories of identity.
Specifically, we would like to engage in a discussion on how to use this juncture to achieve socially relevant legal education reforms. Indispensable to this conversation are the interdisciplinary voices and the knowledge from the Social Sciences, Education, and Humanities. We look to establish a fruitful interdisciplinary dialogue that would proffer some viable solutions to improve the current state of legal education. For that reason, we invite papers across disciplinary boundaries on the following topics:
1. Towards an Education for Justice
The relevance or importance of justice as a doctrinal paradigm or practical axis for higher education
Is justice still relevant for students, academics or higher education institutions?
Integrating a discussion about justice across disciplines
Integrating the voice of those traditionally excluded from power by legal discourse
Intersections between different disenfranchised groups or minority groups; specifically, the study of the interactions of multiple systems of oppression or discrimination.
2. Institutional Perspectives:
Accreditation: Pressure and curricular guidelines imposed by accreditation agencies
Pedagogical models: Should legal education emphasize law as an academic endeavor or as a vocational one focused on training lawyers? How to strike a balance? Could these two models coexist effectively?
Decline in admissions: There are many theories attempting to explain the drop in applications (economic crisis, market saturation, outsourcing, and costs of legal education). What is happening in the South?
3. Challenges to Teaching and Learning:
Conflicts between schools’ mission, accreditation and academic freedom
Proposals to eliminate tenure
Increase in adjunct hiring
Effective interdisciplinary academic work
Access to legal education
Globalization of the U.S. legal education model
Legal education as part of the public domain
4. Alternatives to the current model of legal education
Moving toward an experiential model: Value and cost of establishing effective clinical programs
Comparative perspectives (among jurisdictions and other professional disciplines)
Reducing instructional time
5. Socially relevant programs
How legal programs integrate the voice of those traditionally excluded from power by legal discourse; the role of communities in informing the content of legal programs. How are these communities defined?
Community centered lawyering as part of the curriculum.
Innovative practices to bring the study of law closer to the needs of the surrounding communities
The conference’s proceedings will be held in Spanish and English. To be considered for participation in the 2014 LatCrit SNX, please complete the 2014 LatCrit SNX Response to Call for Papers and submit your proposed presentation/paper or panel before March 10, 2014.
The form is available at:
2014 LatCrit SNX Response to Call for Papers
Should you have any further questions, please contact Willmai Rivera-Pérez, Southern University Law Center,
, Sheila I. Vélez Martínez, University of Pittsburgh School of Law,
or Yanira Reyes Gil, Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico-Facultad de Derecho,
: Farid Samir Benavides Vanegas, Universidad de Los Andes, Facultad de Derecho,
; Yanira Reyes Gil, Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico-Facultad de Derecho,
; Sagrario Feliz de Cochon, UNIBE-Escuela de Derecho, firstname.lastname@example.org or
; Sheila I. Vélez Martínez, University of Pittsburgh School of Law,
; Willmai Rivera-Pérez, Southern University Law Center,
; Aníbal Rosario Lebrón, University Of Louisville-Brandeis School of Law,
; and Charles R. Venator-Santiago, University of Connecticut, Department of Political Science and El Instituto,
The 2014 SNX will be held at the Universidad de Los Andes, Facultad de Derecho in Bogotá, Colombia (
). The local organizing committee is currently in the process of negotiating a conference rate at the Hotel Ibis Bogotá Museo. For more information, please contact Farid Samir Benavides Vanegas, Universidad de Los Andes, Facultad de Derecho,
Conference Costs and Registration:
Conference participants will be required to register for the Conference. Conference registration fees are as follows:
Law Professors from the Global North $150
Non-Law Professors from the Global North $100
Professors and lawyers from the Global South $75
Students and Activists $50
The conference registration will cover administrative costs and some meals. Conference participants can register at:
¡Nos vemos en Bogotá, Colombia!
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