Month: September 2020

The Justice Initiative – Frequently Asked Questions


Who is the Justice Initiative for?

What is the selection process like? What type of community is the Justice Initiative trying to build?

The application process is meant for us to learn something more about you, the applicants, so as to ensure that the commitment we make to each other over the course of the year will be meaningful and rewarding. Applicants are not being evaluated on their resumes, grades, or “accomplishments.” Rather, we are trying to build a community that is committed to justice. 

Is the Justice Initiative open to first-year law students?

Yes! The Justice Initiative is open to all law students and lawyers.

Is the Justice Initiative only for JD students, or can LLM/MSL students participate as well?

All law students and lawyers can participate in the Justice Initiative. 

Is the Justice Initiative only for law students, or can legal practitioners and law faculty join?

Lawyers, law professors, and people working “in the law” broadly defined are all welcome and encouraged to join the Justice Initiative. Watch the information session for lawyers and law professors here. Lawyers can register for the Justice Initiative here

Is the Justice Initiative open to law students/practitioners/faculty/people outside of the United States? 

The Justice Initiative is primarily intended for participants from within the United States so as to ensure a shared familiarity with laws, legal educational traditions, and systemic injustices. Nonetheless, law students and lawyers from outside of the U.S. who are eager to participate and willing to commit to the Justice Initiative should apply. 

I missed the introductory student webinar – where can I find a recording? 

You can watch the informational webinar for students here! And the informational webinar for lawyers and law professors is here

How does the Justice Initiative fit into my university?

Will students get academic credit for their involvement with the Justice Initiative?

No. The Justice Initiative is not a course. Rather, the primary focus will be on creating a community, learning from students, faculty, and practitioners alike, and developing a lasting movement for justice. Faculty members of individual law schools interested in exploring the possibility of offering a for-credit reading group or seminar at their law school are encouraged to reach out to us at The Justice Initiative will likely lead to opportunities for students to fulfill some pro bono requirements at some law schools or to make connections that could lead to possible external or independent clinics. 

I am in the process of starting/expanding an aligned space on my campus. Is there any way for us to connect?

Absolutely! Be sure to fill out an application for the Justice Initiative (and encourage any groupmates of yours to do the same), as a central component of this community will be the creation of a cross-campus and country-wide network of like-minded law students dedicated to structural transformation. If you have more specific questions, email us at

How do I get started with the Justice Initiative?

Students, to get started, should just apply! Applications are open until 12:00 p.m ET. on October 1, but because we are working on a rolling, limited basis, we encourage you to submit your application as early as possible.

Lawyers and law school professors can register for the Justice Initiative here

For students, is there an intermediate participation option? What do I do if I can’t make every session?

We believe that one of the most meaningful features of the Justice Initiative will be the time commitment that ensures its participants truly learn, grow, and bond together. Accordingly, for students, there will be no middle participation option. That being said, please communicate potential conflicts to us, as our Saturday Session schedule will take into account our members’ availability. 

Other Questions

Will the Justice Initiative continue next year?

The Justice Initiative is a pilot program. Depending upon the success of the pilot, we hope the Justice Initiative will continue and become a mainstay of legal education and the legal landscape.

I have a disability and require certain accommodations.  Will the Justice Initiative work with me to make sure the programming is accessible? 

Yes.  The Justice Initiative is an inclusive community, and we welcome participants of all 

identities and backgrounds.  If you would like specific accommodations or would like to talk through what kinds of accommodations might be necessary based on our programming and materials, we are here to support you.  Please email or for more information. 


The Systemic Justice Project at Harvard Law School and the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University Law School are collaborating to help create a year-long pilot project called “The Justice Initiative.”

What Is the Justice Initiative?

A community of social-justice-oriented law students, lawyers, law-school faculty, legal organizations, organizers, and activists devoted to thinking creatively about the role lawyers can play in reimagining, dismantling, and remaking unjust systems, working to repair longstanding injustices, assisting law students hoping to pursue justice-oriented careers, and providing opportunities for further study, engagement, advising, organizing, and collaboration among its members.

Why Now?

There’s nothing new about the systemic problems laid bare by recent crises. This is, however, a pivotal historical moment. In the midst of a global pandemic, a national reckoning with centuries of systemic racism, a growing climate catastrophe, a polarized population on the eve of a critical presidential election, now is the time to mobilize for justice. Now is the time to examine society’s deeply embedded power dynamics, deconstruct the structures that produce and reproduce inequalities, and join the movements to rebuild a more just and equitable society.

What Do We Offer Law Students?

The Justice Initiative will bring together justice-oriented systemic lawyers, law professors, and law students to provide presentations, panel discussions, and other forms of interactive programming designed to cover elements of legal education and legal theory that are generally not included in traditional law school curricula (e.g., critical race theory, critiques of legal education, systemic lawyering) with an eye toward various justice-oriented movements (e.g., Black Lives Matter, #metoo, and climate justice) and justice-related topics (e.g., organizing, rigged politics, and self-care in the midst of a movement). There will also be a retreat, career advice, and other opportunities  for law students interested in pursuing systemic-lawyering careers. 

What is Required? 

All that is required for law students to participate in the Justice Initiative is a commitment to help build this justice-centered community and to attend roughly ten 3-hour online Saturday programming sessions online between October 3 and April 10. Participation in the Justice Initiative is free and all materials will be provided. Space is limited, so some application or registration process may be used to select among applicants. 

What Else Is Offered? 

The Justice Initiative will provide opportunities for participation in reading and discussion groups. We hope to encourage and facilitate office hours with law-school faculty and legal practitioners as well as advising and mentoring sessions between law students and justice-oriented legal practitioners. There will also be resources for students and other participants interested in learning about or coordinating actions at other Institutions. Those offerings will be optional.

How Can You Learn More?

An informational webinar for law students was held on September 12. Interested students can learn more by watching session here

An informational webinar for lawyers and law professors was held on September 19. Lawyers who would like to learn more can watch that video here

For those lawyers who already know they want to participate but want to learn about the variety of ways to be involved, here is a shorter video containing just that information.

See our FAQ post here.

Please email any questions or suggestions that you might have at the following email address:

How Can You Apply To Participate?

Students who attended the informational webinar or watched the video can apply to participate in the 2020 Justice Initiative here:

Lawyers and law professors can register to participate here: