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Using Law for Change

Litigation to Challenge Systemic Violations

By Brad Seligman

Starting in the 1980s, the pursuit of social justice litigation has become challenging due to more conservative judges, tougher class certification and substantive law decisions, more demanding attorney-fee and cost-recovery requirements, the decline in federal enforcement of civil rights and environmental laws, and cutbacks and restrictions on legal services funding. Nonetheless, taking a holistic approach--using media, working with community organizations, and using the full range of procedures in a litigator's toolbox--advocates can still accomplish much on clients' behalf. Social justice litigation remains a potent weapon for change.

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