In the fight against slavery, abolitionist lawyers argued that the entire legal system upholding slavery was unjust, corrupt, and procedurally atrocious. Nevertheless, alongside broad arguments for systemic change, abolitionist lawyers practiced within that atrocious procedure to resist the legal regime from within. The result was a form of resistance from within the system that yielded surprisingly good results for their clients and worked hand in hand with broader movements for political and legal reform. In the present day, many lawyers practice in surprisingly similar circumstances. Many lawyers who oppose the deportation of U.S. residents argue that the immigration system today is unjust, corrupt, and procedurally atrocious. Like their abolitionist predecessors, they still practice within that atrocious procedural regime to resist it from inside. This paper both exposes the common threads across history into the present and also proposes that the "resistance" element of present day immigration practice could be better understood as a part of a broader political project.
Dan Farbman joined the Boston College Law faculty as an Assistant Professor of Law in 2017. He teaches and writes in the areas of local government law, legal history, constitutional law, the legal profession, civil rights, and property. His work focuses on the legal history of radical reform movements in public law both from an institutional perspective and from the perspective of the practice of cause lawyering.
After he graduated from Amherst College in 2001, Dan spent a few years in New York City trying (and failing) to make it as a professional actor before he enrolled at Harvard Law School. After graduating in 2007, he was a clerk for Judge Margaret Morrow on the Central District of California in Los Angeles before beginning a Skadden Fellowship at Advancement Project in Washington, D.C. At Advancement Project he worked with community organizers around the country on grassroots efforts to fight racial injustice in public education with a particular focus on the school to prison pipeline.
After leaving practice, Dan pursued a PhD in American Studies at Harvard. For three years prior to joining Boston College, he was a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, Dan taught Legal Research and Writing and a seminar on Legal Realism.
Thursday, September 14 at 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Merkert Chemistry Center, Room 130
Boston College, 2601-2609 Beacon Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA