The recent events of the last few weeks, the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings concerning Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas, and Clarence Thomas' confirmation to the Supreme Court, have shaken the nation and I'm sure all of us in this room. These events underscore the urgency and challenge of the justice mission of legal education. In these remarks, I will briefly explore a critical dimension of this mission, the building of bridges between theory and practice, scholarship and activism, in American legal education. Our presence here signifies our commitment to the idea that law schools have a justice mission. Law schools are potential laboratories for social change, sites of public policy experimentation, educational environments that can provide opportunities for exciting and important work on justice. Though many of us have committed ourselves towards taking some small steps towards these goals in our own institutions, no law school has fully maximized its potential for fulfilling its justice mission. We still have much more to do to institutionalize this mission in American legal education.


The Justice Mission of American Law Schools