This post continues our series featuring efforts to organize LPE student groups at several law schools. You can read the rest of the posts here.
Sarang Shah —
Berkeley holds a unique place in the public imagination as the home of the Free Speech Movement and the People’s Park protests, as Earl Warren’s alma mater, and as a reliable beacon of Left Coast progressivism. Berkeley also stands uniquely situated in the Bay Area, where climate change-induced fires, rampant inequality and homelessness, and an unaccountable tech industry have emerged as harbingers of a future headed toward catastrophe.
While Berkeley Law students are proximate to these crises, they are also privileged to have access to tools that can be used to build an alternative, better future. Unfortunately, there is an overwhelming pressure built into the law school experience itself that pushes students into a narrow range of career choices. Few of these careers encourage addressing broader structural concerns with the law. Instead, Berkeley Law graduates often wind up viewing law as unalterable and decaying plumbing, rather than as architecture that may be torn down, transformed, and rebuilt for a more just future.
I attended law school so that I might learn about how law generates inequality. I wanted to know how law got us to where we are today, where we may end up if we don’t change anything, and how we could use the law as a creative tool to get us to where we would rather go. Arriving to campus and finding these opportunities lacking, I sought to build a community around discussing how we can transform the law to encourage greater dignity and equality. Having been an avid follower of LPE Blog since its inception, I reached out to the blog organizers for help with bringing LPE to Berkeley. Since then, several of my colleagues and I have sought to make LPE a lasting and vibrant academic community at my law school with the indispensable help of our steering committee.