I currently direct the homelessness unit at Greater Boston Legal Services after having been a welfare lawyer for fifteen years. When I first started teaching at Harvard about six years ago, I taught a course on Welfare Law. There is a value in teaching homelessness law as a discrete topic rather than lumping it under the traditional topics of welfare law or housing law. Initially, when I started teaching at Harvard, my goal was to impress the students with the fact that a poverty law subject like Welfare Law was as complicated doctrinally as anything else that they might learn. What I have come down to is focusing my goals into two main areas, values and role. Very few of my students are ever going to be legal services or public interest lawyers. My hope, however, is that all of them will in one way or another be contributing members of our society in ways that will have a substantial influence on the quality of our system. The most important thing I can do is expand their understanding of the nature of poverty and injustice in this society and the role the legal profession can play in resolving those problems.


The Justice Mission of American Law Schools