Citizen Alum at Columbia Law School/Center for Institutional and Social Change
Law schools are a crucial arena for developing “citizen alums. Lawyers have a professional responsibility to contribute to the public good. This includes figuring out how the law can remove the barriers facing people who currently lack adequate access to the institutions that define economic and social citizenship. Many people come into law school with the aspiration to advance “full participation”, and become disillusioned in part because they lack access to people in practice who have built these values into their practice. People in practice need new frameworks and models for advancing social justice, as well as opportunities to connect with others involved in developing their practice.
The Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia law school, under the leadership of Susan Sturm and Shelley Klein, is developing a “citizen alum” project that will connect current and former law students in a multi-generational project that will ask how lawyers can advance full participation in their workplaces, communities, schools, families, and democratic institutions, what skills and frameworks they need, and how a network can support their engagement in this kind of work. We will be connecting with other law schools that are involved in developing similar networks of current and former students, as way to leverage the resources of law schools to contribute to realizing democratic values.”