Social Work of Law

Section 1, Fall 19

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 15/17
Credits: 3

Course Description

In the past, law and social work have been treated as distinct professions whose practitioners serve clients in different contexts, for distinct purposes, using different skills and methods, and following different ethical codes. For many lawyers, however, the line between their work and social work is not a clear one. Some lawyers now find themselves practicing in groups with social workers or directly assisting clients with the kinds of problems that social workers customarily resolve. For legal aid lawyers and public defenders, social work and law routinely converge. This also is the case for many government lawyers, including prosecutors, even though they may not conceive of their work that way. Likewise, private lawyers practicing in a range of areas, including family law, juvenile justice, criminal justice, health law, housing law, immigration, and aging, find themselves working with clients whose problems require “social” as well as “legal” solutions. In the arenas of community organizing and policy-making, professionals are increasingly relying on methodologies and research from both disciplines in order to inform their social justice activities, advocacy, and legislative agendas. The seminar will explore the genealogy of the two disciplines, the places where they converge, as well as the places where they continue to diverge. It will examine the social work that lawyers do with individuals, families, and communities in many of the foregoing contexts, and it will aim to expose students to the diverse sorts of clients and groups whom they will encounter and join with in a variety of practice areas. Over the course of the semester, students will write 3 short (6-8 page) papers.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): None
Description: None
Final Exam Notes:


Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Over the course of the semester, students will write three short (1800-2400 word) papers (each due via EXPO, deadline to be announced).

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
Course Notes:

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

General Information

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens:
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: