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Representing the Vulnerable and Remembering Ralph Abascal: Lessons from the 1970s

Friday March 16

  • By: University of California Hastings College of the Law
  • Time: 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Time Zone: Pacific Time (US & Canada)
  • Location:
    San Francisco, CA
  • Source: CALegalAdvocates >

This conference examines the role, responsiveness, and effectiveness of lawyers in representing socially vulnerable groups on policy matters. The first session will focus on advocacy undertaken by government-funded legal services lawyers in California in the early 1970s to counter then Governor Ronald Reagan's welfare reform proposals. This multi-faceted campaign is the subject of a forthcoming book by Mark Neal Aaronson on representing the poor. Subsequent conference sessions will discuss social justice lawyering today and what lessons can be learned from the 1970s. The closing session will be a remembrance of the life and times of Ralph Santiago Abascal, who was the key legal architect of the welfare advocacy campaign discussed during the first session. Abascal was a UC Hastings graduate (1968) and later a member of its Board of Directors (1981 - 1993).


Welcome: Chancellor and Dean Frank H. Wu, UC Hastings College of the Law (11:00-11:05 a.m.).

Session 1: Discussion of Representing the Poor: Legal Advocacy and Welfare Reform during Reagan's Gubernatorial Years by Professor Mark Neal Aaronson, UC Hastings College of the Law (11:05 a.m.-12:35 p.m.)

Moderator: Academic Dean Shauna Marshall, UC Hastings College of the Law

Summation of the book's ideas and narrative: Professor Sameer Ashar, UC Irvine School of Law

Commentators: Professor Gary Blasi, UCLA School of Law; Professor Martha Davis, Northeastern University School of Law; Professor Bill Hing, University of San Francisco School of Law

Session 2: Luncheon (12:45-1:45 p.m.)

Featured Speaker: Professor Gerald López, UCLA School of Law

Session 3: Teaching and Practicing 21st Century Social Justice Lawyering (2:00-3:30 p.m.)

Moderator: Professor Reuel Schiller, UC Hastings College of the Law

Panelists: Professor Scott Cummings, UCLA School of Law; Professor Deborah Moss-West, Santa Clara University School of Law; Professor Ascanio Piomelli, UC Hastings College of the Law; Professor Ann Southworth, UC Irvine School of Law; Professor Stephanie Wildman, Santa Clara University School of Law

Session 4: Remembering Ralph Santiago Abascal (3:45-5:15 p.m.)

Moderator: Peter Reid, founding Executive Director of the Stanford Community Law Clinic and former San Mateo County Legal Aid

Executive Director

Panelists: Stephen Berzon, Senior Partner, Altshuler Berzon; Honorable John Burton, Chairman of the California Democratic Party, former Member of the California Senate and Assembly, and former U.S. Congressman; Jose Padilla, Executive Director, California Rural Legal Assistance; Professor Cruz Reynoso, UC Davis School of Law and former California Supreme Court Associate Justice; Professor Florence Roisman, Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis

Reception (5:15-7:00 p.m.)

UC Hastings thanks The Lawrence M. Nagin '65 Faculty Enrichment Fund for supporting this event

To Register Click Here.


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