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A Brief History of the Law and Social Justice in California

Social Justice in California

The intersection of law and justice has existed since the beginning of the practice of law. The symbol of law is the scales of justice. The scales represent fairness in court cases. The symbol also serves as a reminder that there are two sides to every story, and Lady Justice carefully “weighs” the claims of each side, using the scales.

When becoming a lawyer, you’ll encounter many practice areas, each with its own nuances, procedures, and rules of law. One such practice area is social justice or public interest, a possible specialization at select law schools.

Golden Gate University, located in the heart of the Financial District of San Francisco, is an ABA-accredited university with an online hybrid Juris Doctor (JD) program. In addition to the standard track of legal study, GGU offers a social justice and public interest career track. You can earn a law degree with a robust social justice emphasis through GGU’s hybrid JD Flex program and carry the knowledge into practice to serve the community in many different ways. 

Social Justice Movements in California

Social justice focuses on the concept of fairness in relations between individuals in society and equal access to wealth, opportunities, and social privileges. Social justice issues can be found at all levels of society—local, state, national, cultural, etc, and these issues span the globe.

California has long been at the forefront of social justice movements. As a large state with multiple major cities and a diverse population, California has led the country in initiating change. Civil rights movements raised awareness and made noise in cities like San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland. Protests over police brutality and reproductive rights amplified social change in San Diego and Los Angeles. 

Attorneys practicing social justice-focused law fight to dismantle oppressive systems. Where there is inequality and oppression—i.e., where social justice is lacking—lawyers are critical. Attorneys are needed for a multitude of reasons, such as preserving rights, fighting for policy change, and litigating these issues.

Why a Social Justice Law Degree

Getting your Juris Doctor allows you to practice any kind of law. What added benefit can a social justice career track give you? 

Specialization in any field gives you a professional advantage. A social justice law degree centers on social justice issues that challenge the nation and the world. The specialized degree gives you tools in public interest lawyering and advocacy so that you can competently interact with the oppressive systems impacting the rights and protections of others. Thus, a specialized legal education better prepares you to be a well-rounded advocate for a career in public interest law. Plus, attending a social justice law school helps build your network from the start. 

A Public Interest Career from GGU

At GGU, you can complete your Juris Doctor with in-person and online courses. The JD Flex program’s flexibility opens up learning opportunities for working professionals and those who may have been traditionally excluded from traditional law degree programs. Similarly, the social justice and public interest career track allow any student interested in these critical areas of practice to gain a strong knowledge and skill set to impact others.

Golden Gate University is dedicated to helping its law students make the world a more equitable place. Our mission is to educate students that go on and become socially responsible members of the global community. We believe training lawyers and leaders of diverse backgrounds and experiences creates a stronger, more inclusive justice system. That is reflected in our student body and the classes we offer. Our curriculum includes classes such as family law, international human rights, and rebellious lawyering.

Our rebellious law course introduces students to social justice through the lens of rebellious lawyering, which is grounded in empowering clients and communities to achieve justice. We explore how social justice lawyers approach their relationship with clients in a non-hierarchical way to best appreciate and support the goals of their clients.

A GGU legal education helps you make a difference. We know how to teach and inspire our students to act on their social justice law degree. Our alumni have gone on to work as civil rights practitioners, in the U.S. Department of Justice, and as public defenders. 

You can earn your Juris Doctor and work to change the world. If this is your passion, consider Golden Gate University School of Law. Our JD Flex program makes it easier to earn your degree while simultaneously making room for a fulfilling and purposeful career. Contact our admissions office today to learn more and get started.

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