East Bay Community Law Center Endorses Student Demand for a Mandatory 1L Critical Race Theory Course at Berkeley Law

April 8, 2021
Dear Berkeley Law Curriculum Committee: Thank you for the invitation to provide comments on how Berkeley Law’s curriculum might “better explore the ways in which law and the legal profession shape and are shaped by race, racism, and other hierarchies of power.”(1) The East Bay Community Law Center supports the students’ call to Berkeley Law to institute a 1L critical race theory course requirement.
  1. Why Critical Race Theory in Legal Education Matters to the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC).

The East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC or Law Center) was founded in 1988 (then, as the Berkeley Community Law Center) by Berkeley Law students who sought to bridge a divide between the way they were being taught, and the rapid decline in state and public funding for free legal services that otherwise aided low-income communities of color in and throughout the East Bay. EBCLC now comprises Berkeley Law’s eight (8) community-based clinics: Community Economic Justice; Consumer Justice & General Clinic; Clean Slate; Education Advocacy; Youth Defender; Housing; Health & Welfare; and Immigration.

EBCLC boasts a dual mission: to promote justice and build a community that is more secure, productive, healthy, and hopeful by providing 1) legal services and policy advocacy that are responsive to the needs of low-income communities; and 2) law training that prepares future attorneys to be skilled and principled advocates who are committed to addressing the causes and conditions of racial and economic injustice and poverty. To achieve these goals, we rely at once on institutional support and also on the support and participation of Berkeley Law clinical students who assist in providing these critical legal services.

Berkeley Law students’ call for Berkeley Law to institute a mandatory 1L critical race theory course is not only timely, it also gives Berkeley Law a singular opportunity to rise to this sociopolitical moment, heed the call of organizers and advocates...

Download the full letter here. [gview file="https://ebclc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/EBCLC-Letter-of-Support-for-CRT-Course-040121.pdf"]  
  1. Email to select Berkeley Law faculty/staff from Molly Shaffer van Houweling dated March 24, 2021 (“Subject Line: Curriculum Committee request for input due Thursday”).