Law 541 - Problem Solving in the Public Interest

Robert Bradley Sears

Robert Bradley Sears

Associate Dean of Public Interest Law
David Sanders Distinguished Scholar of Law & Policy, The Williams Institute
B.A. Yale, 1992
J.D. Harvard, 1995
UCLA Faculty Since 2000
Course Description:

This seminar focuses on public interest lawyering through a close analysis of case studies and the discussion of recurring issues in public interest practice. In this course, students explore social problems from a number of different perspectives, highlighting the many different ways of solving problems of the sort public interest lawyers confront. The seminar covers questions of how public interest problems come to be framed; how clients, lawyers and their allies think about problem-solving strategies; and how public interest lawyers use different modes of advocacy to address problems. Students in this seminar complete an individual paper project that addresses a real world problem and incorporates the modes of advocacy studied in the course.

Course Learning Outcomes:

Public Interest Leadership:
• Identify as part of a supportive Epstein Program community of public interest practitioners.
• Understand some of the professional challenges and ethical issues that are associated with public interest lawyering.

Inequality:
• Identify the process by which social problems are defined and constructed.
• Assess fundamental questions about public interest lawyer accountability to clients and broader constituencies, and the effectiveness of law as a tool of social change.

Problem Solving:
• Recognize the variety of possible legal and policy responses to any particular social problem, including how this variety recurs across multiple topic areas.
• Appraise the interaction between problem definition, proposed solution, and different modes of advocacy that lawyers use in addressing important social problems.

Advocacy:
• Complete a written project that requires problem solving on a real social issue, utilizing knowledge of a substantive area as well as skills of fact gathering, case analysis, and chosen modes of advocacy.

Course Information:
​Faculty Term Course Section ​Schedule ​Units Requisite Satisfies SAW
Robert Sears 19F 541 SEM 3 M 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM 3.0 No Per instructor's discretion
  Law 541 is limited to students in EPILP. Enrollment processed by the Records Office.