Abstract

Neoliberalism, a business-oriented ideology promoting corporatism, profit-seeking, and elite management, has found its way into the modern American university. As neoliberal ideology envelops university campuses, the idea of law professors as learned academicians and advisors to students as citizens in training, has given way to the concept of professors as brokers of marketable skills with students as consumers. In a legal setting, this concept pushes law students to view their education not as a means to contribute to society and the professional field, but rather as a means to make money. These developments are especially problematic for minority students and faculty who wish to remain grounded in their communities.

In the face of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner shootings and their aftermath, academics are challenged by events and by their own students to rethink the connection between law teaching and the needs of the community at large. This article considers these dilemmas and encourages faculty to respond, organizing to strengthen their own role in university affairs so they can freely work with their students to re-engage with social movements and marginalized communities. In this re-engagement, the article recommends that teachers use experiential learning techniques developed at CUNY Law School, grounded in the community collaboration and respect proposed by Prof. Gerald Lopez in his “rebellious” lawyering approach.