The Private Sector’s Pivotal Role in Combating Human Trafficking

17 Feb 2012 04:20pm Jonathan Todres 

Human trafficking is big business, with industry estimates running in the billions of dollars annually. Much of that profit accrues to traffickers, illegal profiteers, and organized crime groups. However, the private sector-including legitimate businesses and industries-also reaps economic benefits, directly and indirectly, from the trafficking and related exploitation of persons. Despite these economic realities, the dominant approach to combating human trafficking has been to rely almost exclusively on governments and social services organizations to do the job. Little has been asked of the private sector. Two important bills-one adopted by the State of California and the otherintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives-might signal the beginning of a change in the prevailing approach to combating human trafficking.

Part I of this Essay briefly discusses human trafficking and current responses to the problem. As Part I reveals, despite the gravity of the problem, the private sector has been largely overlooked to date. Part II then looks specifically at the value of and rationale for private sector involvement in antitrafficking efforts. The discussion in Part II implicates a much broader debate in the literature on corporate social responsibility.9 I explore that literature in greater depth in a forthcoming article and instead focus in this shorter Essay on sketching out what the private sector could add to anti-trafficking efforts. Given that private sector involvement offers unique benefits to anti-trafficking initiatives, Part III explores governmental means of fostering private sector engagement in the fight against human trafficking. Finally, in Part IV, this Essay returns to the California Transparency Act-the first significant law aimed at spurring private sector efforts to stop human trafficking-to look at what lessons might be drawn from early responses to the new law.

Law School for Poets

17 Feb 2012 04:19pm Melissa Murray 

This piece was written for a program held by the American Association of Law Schools Section  on Law and Humanities, "Excavating and Integrating Law and Humanities in the Core Curriculum," on January 5, 2012.

Like many who attend law school, I was an undergraduate history major. The humanities, my college pre-professional advisor assured me, were ideal preparation for the rigors of law school. I believed the hype. Three years later, on my first day of Contracts, my blind faith in the inherent compatibility of the humanities and legal education was rewarded with a sinking feeling that would, in time, give way to nausea. I had been duped. I had envisioned exuberant discussions led by a pipe-smoking, tweed-jacketed professor about the great moments in the history of contract law. Instead, the class began with the professor (sans pipe and tweed jacket) scrawling the Coase Theorem on the chalkboard. There were numbers. I felt the bile rising in my throat.

Although I learned to deal with the numbers, I could not help feeling that something was missing from the experience. Where was the social and historical context that could illuminate these doctrines? As we marched methodically through the substance of each course, we never stopped to dwell on the connections that linked cases that were thematically distinct, but connected contextually and chronologically.

Though it would have been easy to submit to this standard law school pedagogy, I did not swallow my misgivings and fall in line. I did not go gently into that good night! I became a law professor, and I vowed to find a way to reach my fellow poets, artists, and historians.

Teaching Property Law and What It Means to Be Human

17 Feb 2012 04:09pm Rose Cuison Villazor 

This piece was written for a program held by the American Association of Law Schools Section  on Law and Humanities, "Excavating and Integrating Law and Humanities in the Core Curriculum," on January 5, 2012.

Why do I include films, art and novels in the study of property law? The reason for this, as I argue in this Essay, is quite simple. I contend that deploying these materials in the classroom deepens my students' understanding of property law. The study of property law, as scholars have noted, is essentially what it means "to be human." Indeed, one of the established conceptual views of property is that it is a system of law that "concern relations among people regarding control of valued resources." Through the use of movies, books, and paintings, I am able to delve more deeply into people's lives and relationships and the various factors that influenced their competing claims to property. Specifically, through these cultural media, I emphasize the role that different factors-social, cultural, historical, economic and legal-play in shaping people's interactions with each other regarding things that each contends to be her own. In other words, films, novels, and art, among others, highlight the human stories behind the cases and provide context to the conflicting sense of entitlement to property in the cases that students are learning. This deeper understanding about the legal issues and the forces that led to the property conflict help to prompt more robust discussions about property law.

Teaching Humanities Softly: Bringing a Critical Approach to the First-Year Contracts Class Through Trial and Error

17 Feb 2012 04:04pm Ariela J. Gross 

This piece was written for a program held by the American Association of Law Schools Section on Law and Humanities, "Excavating and Integrating Law and Humanities in the Core Curriculum," on January 5, 2012.

I think it is fair to say that Contracting Law was the first (and it may be the only) critical race feminist Contracts casebook. It is also the only Contracts casebook that I know of that attempts to engage the humanities. It is filled with poems and excerpts of novels, in addition to law review articles from a variety of viewpoints. It didn't even look like other casebooks. It was bigger and heavier and the typeface was large enough to read easily. My students hated it.

They hated that it was different. They hated that there were things in it that were "not law." They hated that it appeared to have a perspective. And they hated every time our class appeared to depart from "black letter" law. The literary excerpts elicited not empathy but derision. When assigned O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi," and John Elemans' "The Gift Economy," they did not probe deeper into the bargain-gift distinction. Assigned a chapter from The Grapes of Wrath, they did not make the connection between farmers in the Great Depression and the plaintiffs in a promissory estoppel case, Standish v. Curry. Reading bell hooks' "Homeplace: A Site of Resistance," and Denise Chavez's "The Wedding" did not make them think more carefully about the emotional distress arising from contract breach and the exclusion of emotional distress damages. Student evaluations said things like, "I didn't pay $35,000 a year to read poetry." Clearly, I was doing something wrong. My ambition to integrate a humanities approach to introductory legal studies had obviously fallen flat.

Excavating Subtexts and Integrating Humanity in Civil Procedure

17 Feb 2012 03:53pm Bret Asbury 

This piece was written for a program held by the American Association of Law Schools Section on Law and Humanities, "Excavating and Integrating Law and Humanities in the Core Curriculum," on January 5, 2012.

I am currently in my fifth year as a law professor at Drexel University, where I teach Civil Procedure, Jurisprudence, and a Literature & the Law seminar. While Jurisprudence and Literature & the Law are fields arising directly out of the humanities, Civil Procedure-what with its heavy reliance on the Federal Rules and frequently unambiguous statutes-appears at first blush to exist in a separate realm, one of cold calculation and indifference to the human condition. It is perhaps for this reason that I had dispirited memories of Civil Procedure when I first set out to teach it five years ago. But as I have grappled with the material and evolved as a teacher over time, I have come to believe that the humanities can offer Civil Procedure a great deal, not only in terms of making this notoriously dry subject more engaging for my students, but in helping them to master the material as well.

Though I teach all three of my courses through a humanistic lens, I would like to highlight two humanities-inspired techniques that I have found to be particularly useful in teaching Civil Procedure. The first pedagogical technique is "close reading," the method of pausing over and examining selected words, phrases, sentences, and syntax in order to reveal subtextual meanings that might not initially be apparent. I have found this technique particularly useful in teaching personal jurisdiction, perhaps the most vexing of the topics customarily covered in an introductory Civil Procedure course. The second pedagogical technique I would like to highlight relates to my broader framing of Civil Procedure. Instead of teaching the course piecemeal, as a series of discrete topics, I endeavor to frame the whole of Civil Procedure as a clash of two competing grand narratives-the quest for justice versus the desire for courts to adjudicate disputes as quickly and inexpensively as possible. These two objectives are often at odds, and as we read cases, Rules, and statutes, I go to great lengths to underscore the struggle judges, drafters, and legislators necessarily face in resolving tensions between the two.

In this Essay, I will elaborate on how I employ these humanities-based techniques-one derived from literary criticism and the other aimed at establishing the humanistic struggle that I believe lies at the core of Civil Procedure-and the positive effects they have had on my students' understanding of this challenging subject.

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