Valdes, Bender, and Hill's Critical Justice: Systemic Advocacy in Law and Society

West Academic Publishing
Primary Subject
Race And The Law
American Casebook Series
Publication Date


Critical Justice equips students and teachers with a framework for confronting systemic injustice by developing systemic advocacy projects rooted in insights of the critical schools of legal knowledge and field-based advocacy approaches. The textbook describes both law’s complicity in maintaining injustice and its importance as a tool in struggles to advance equal justice. Drawing on iconic and cutting-edge writings, the textbook outlines the “Critical Challenge” for advocates: how to translate the noble promise of equal justice into lived social realities for all—how to use law for justice.

The textbook prepares students to use law for justice by developing systemic advocacy projects that overcome the “blindfolds” and “handcuffs” of traditional legal education and practice. Critical Justice’s conceptual and practical toolkit focuses on four key missing elements—social identities, groups, interests, and power—to explain the persistence of systemic injustice, and on redesigned professional norms to promote collaboration with subordinated communities. The textbook defines and illustrates systemic advocacy: systemic advocates craft ameliorative fixes to discrete problems while also transforming the playing field by building the organized power of subordinated groups and shifting consciousness and culture to undermine supremacist ideologies. Critical Justice also presents a template for designing advocacy projects to help students craft fellowship projects and pursue dream jobs.

Critical Justice fills a gap in racial and social justice curriculum that connects the dots among systems and oppressions that persist across time and borders. With all author proceeds going to an academic nonprofit with antisubordination aims, this textbook is truly a collective undertaking in praxis toward equal justice for all.