Law Schedule of Classes

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226.9A sec. 001 - State and Local Impact Litigation Practicum (Fall 2024)

Instructor: Erin Bernstein  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only)
Instructor: Jill E Habig  
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Units: 2
Grading Designation: Credit Only
Mode of Instruction: In-Person

Course Start: August 19, 2024
Course End: December 05, 2024
Class Number: 32113

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 11
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 12
As of: 07/18 07:57 AM

Over the past 15 years, state and local governments have begun to proactively enforce their residents’ rights in areas as diverse as environmental justice, civil rights, immigration, reproductive freedom, and economic empowerment. This seminar will provide students with both a foundation in state and local government law and in complex/impact litigation. Students will learn about when, how, and why the government litigates as a Plaintiff on behalf of itself and its residents, and how affirmative litigation by state and local government differs from litigation brought by private individuals and non-profit groups. Specific case studies will frame discussions about the role of cities and states in our federal system, the opportunities and risks posed by affirmative litigation, the relationship between affirmative litigation and policy-making, and the strategic considerations unique to government litigation.

Classroom materials will combine academic, statutory, and case law materials with trial-court and appellate pleadings in selected cases brought by state and local governments. The practicum component of the course will provide an opportunity for students to apply the materials to real case examples from local governments across the country.

The seminar is graded, and the practicum is CR/NC.

Erin Bernstein is a founder of Bradley Bernstein Sands LLP, where she represents municipalities across California in affirmative litigation and complex defense. Prior to founding BBS, Erin was a Supervising Deputy City Attorney at the Oakland City Attorney’s Office, heading the Community Lawyering and Civil Rights Unit (CLCR). She previously served as a Deputy City Attorney in the San Francisco City Attorney's Office, working as a litigator on that office’s Complex and Affirmative Litigation Team. She also served as the Executive Director of the office's Affirmative Litigation Task Force. Erin specializes in reproductive rights, First Amendment, public health and privacy-related cases, and has litigated issues including marriage equality, gender discrimination, public nuisance and abortion rights in both state and federal courts. Erin has been a regular guest lecturer for Yale Law School's popular San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project (SFALP) course, a lecturer at Berkeley Law School, and in the spring of 2016, joined the Yale Law School faculty as a Visiting Lecturer in Law.

Jill Habig is the Founder and President of the Public Rights Project, an organization dedicated to empowering state and local governments to enforce the legal rights of their most vulnerable communities through affirmative litigation. Before founding PRP, Jill served as Special Counsel to then-Attorney General Kamala Harris, and was the Deputy Campaign Manager and Policy Director for Harris’s Senate campaign. Her work has emphasized consumer fraud, health, education, human trafficking, and civil rights, including issues related to gender and LGBT rights. Jill was previously a Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School and served on the Affirmative Litigation Task Force at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office.

Attendance at the first class is mandatory for all currently enrolled and waitlisted students; any currently enrolled or waitlisted students who are not present on the first day of class (without prior permission of the instructor) will be dropped. The instructor will continue to take attendance throughout the add/drop period and anyone who moves off the waitlist into the class must continue to attend or have prior permission of the instructor in order not to be dropped.

Constitutional Law is a recommended, but not required, prerequisite.

Requirements Satisfaction:

Units from this class count towards the J.D. Experiential Requirement.

Exam Notes: (None) Class requires a series of papers, assignments, or presentations throughout the semester
Course Category: Social Justice and Public Interest
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Consumer Law & Economic Justice
Litigation and Procedure

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