Nine Consumer Law & Economic Justice Course Offerings this Spring

November 7, 2023
Berkeley Law is offering a record nine consumer law & economic justice courses during the Spring 2024 semester:

Consumer Financial Regulation

Manisha Padi

In the past few decades, households have faced the mounting pressures on their finances due to mortgages, student loans, credit cards, healthcare, long term care, and inadequate retirement income. Demands to ease this pressure led to the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the issuance of a variety of regulations aimed at improving consumer outcomes. Students will learn the economic underpinnings of how consumers make financial decisions, like choosing loans, insurance, and retirement products; recent consumer protection efforts targeting financial products, and ongoing debates about consumer financial protection. 

Consumer Law & Economic Justice Workshop

Manisha Padi & Ted Mermin

What’s the latest in economic justice? We invite scholars nationwide to come to our small, discussion-based course to share their cutting-edge research on topics ranging from housing (rental and homeownership), student loans, closing the racial wealth gap, cryptocurrency/fintech and financial inclusion, anti-poverty programs, and wages/labor/employment.

Consumer Litigation: The Course of a Case

Kristen Law Sagafi

Have you ever wondered how plaintiffs’ attorneys decide which case to bring? Do you want to see how a lawsuit plays out, from start to finish? This course examines the progression of a private consumer class action. Each week, the course takes students through one step of the case’s development, including: investigation and client vetting; crafting the complaint; utilizing written discovery and depositions; finding and leveraging expert witnesses; preparing for class certification and summary judgment; navigating the settlement process, etc. The reading materials will include actual (redacted) documents from the case, with illustrative opinions from similar cases for depth and context. Guest lecturers will illuminate the difference between private consumer litigation and public actions brought by government agencies.

Comparative Consumer Law

Ted Mermin

Consumer and economic justice is a worldwide challenge and presents opportunities for international exchange of ideas and innovations. In this seminar-style comparative law course designed for L.L.M. students (and perhaps an intrepid J.D. student or two) interested in global legal perspectives, we will evaluate and share how different jurisdictions have developed legal and regulatory frameworks to promote consumer protection, and what advocates in other countries can learn from these models.

Credit Reporting & Economic Justice

Erika Heath

Your credit report can be a powerful tool–or an enormous hurdle–to gain economic stability. This course, taught by leading consumers’ rights attorney Erika Heath, covers federal and state laws on credit reporting with a particular emphasis on how credit reports affects vulnerable communities like formerly incarcerated people, transgender and transitioning people, and low-income renters.

Housing Litigation & Policy

Michael Bracamontes

Want to defend renters from eviction, sue unscrupulous landlords for allowing dangerous and unhealthy conditions on their property, and challenge municipal zoning policies that revive and reinforce redlining? Learn all this and more in a practical course taught by Michael Bracamontes ‘06, a prominent Bay Area tenants’ and employees’-rights lawyer

Litagating Class Actions

Anne Bloom & Jocelyn Larkin

This course provides an introduction to litigating class actions. Some background in civil procedure is essential as the cases raise complex procedural questions. We will also be considering how class actions fit into the larger procedural system. The material is difficult and deals with issues that have been subjects of judicial and political controversy, in Congress and state legislatures, in the Supreme Court, and in the federal rulemaking process. We will discuss the relevant doctrine and policy, nurture the ability to think like a lawyer about the many strategic and tactical issues involved in litigating these cases on both sides of the "v.", and consider the policy choices involved in the availability of the class action device.

Public Health Law

Marice Ashe

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how vital public health is to our daily lives, economy, and society, and how systemic inequality and structural racism play out in healthcare outcomes. In this course, one of the nation’s top public health law practitioners and advocates, Marice Ashe, M.P.H. ‘83, J.D. ‘93 (founder of the non-profit ChangeLab Solutions and the co-founder of the Public Health Law academy at the CDC) will guide students to evaluate the bases for public health law, its institutions, and practical applications to promote better health.

Student Loan Law

Suzanne Martindale

Student loans have been in the news–and the courts–a lot recently, and as law students, you’re likely all too familiar with them. Economic justice for millennials and Gen Z’ers won’t be a reality without finding comprehensive solutions to our nation’s student loan crisis. There is no better expert to help you find these solutions than Suzanne Martindale ‘10, the Senior Deputy Commissioner for Consumer Financial Protection at the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, who is teaching an exciting course on this subject.