Scott Cummings Examines Los Angeles Labor Activism as Model for Legal Mobilization Towards Progressive Change

Scott Cummings (’98), Professor of Legal Ethics at the UCLA School of Law, published an article on the Law and Political Economy Project’s LPE Blog citing his book, An Equal Place: Lawyers in the Struggle for Los Angeles, and drawing lessons from legal mobilization in Los Angeles labor campaigns challenging economic inequality (“Lessons for Legal Mobilization,” Jan. 24). “What role do—and should—lawyers play in advancing progressive social change? Although this is a question that has dominated progressive legal thought since the civil rights era, it is critical moment to reconsider it, framed by the twin democratic challenges of the Trump era: social uprising challenging structural inequality, alongside vigorous attacks on democratic institutions to undermine political checks-and-balances and core principles of free and fair elections. Both challenges have roots outside of law but fundamentally implicate law’s future: on the one side, demanding that law live up to its promise to ensure equity and inclusion, while on the other, protecting against efforts to dismantle legal systems that hold society back from the precipice of white supremacy, religious intolerance, and authoritarianism.”