Learning to Be A Rebellious Lawyer
Blogger: Elise Sugarman
This semester, I am taking an interesting Politics class called “Rebellious Lawyering,” with Professor González, which focuses on learning how to pursue social change through lawyering. Specifically, we discuss how attorneys need to abandon the idea that they are experts and instead, learn how to collaborate with their clients and the community in order to enact social change.
Since Oxy is located in LA, our professors want us to utilize our great city location and have experiences within LA that we can apply to our class discussions. Therefore, as a co-requisite to the class, we each intern at a public interest law firm in Los Angeles to gain first-hand experience in the field. I am interning in the Intake Call Center at Bet Tzedek Legal Services. Bet Tzedek provides a variety of legal services for low-income individuals in Los Angeles. In the call center, I am the client’s first contact at Bet Tzedek.
Not only do we gain first-hand knowledge in the field, but Professor González also wants us to learn about Rebellious Lawyering from attorneys who put this vision into practice nationwide. Therefore, the Politics Department paid for our class to attend the annual Rebellious Lawyering Conference at Yale Law School a few weekends ago. I attended inspiring panels about international tribunals, policing reproduction, using law in the Blacks Lives Matter movement and gun violence protection. It was such an incredible experience being able to apply the discussions we have had in class to current events on our campus and around the world.
I feel so fortunate that the Politics Department paid for us to travel to this conference. Taking Rebellious Lawyering has been an amazing opportunity for me because it has given me a chance to gain experience in law—through my internship, attending the conference, and class discussions—and really determine whether I want to attend law school or not. I am so glad that Professor González offered this course this semester and if you are interested in law, I highly recommend taking this class and/or attending the Rebellious Lawyering Conference next year!