New course offerings at the University of Colorado Law School for the upcoming academic year give students new opportunities in specialty focuses such as food law, poverty law, race issues in international law, intellectual property and disability rights.
POVERTY LAW COURSE
Taught by Professor Melissa Hart, the course takes a traditional focus on poverty law by looking at state and federal regulatory agencies and programs such as Social Security and The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It will also have students working with homeless organizations, watching cases in county courts and speaking with staff at Colorado Legal Services to give students a sense of the legal work that goes into representing those in poverty. Hart will also have students participate in poverty simulations, which are either facilitated on-line or in person, and are designed to emulate what it’s like to live in a specific socioeconomic status.
“We will always be outside looking in, but it gives us more of an inside and grounded perspective,” Hart said. Students are given a set of circumstances — a wage or salary, commute, etc., and have to make choices on what to purchase. They will also be required to purchase food for three days only using the constraints of SNAP benefits.
“The reality is almost all people who are in law school have never been in that position and have had relatively little interaction with people in that circumstance. It really gives them a sense of what it means to live on next to nothing,” Hart said.