Faculty Profiles

Seana Shiffrin

Seana Shiffrin

Professor of Philosophy
Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice
B.A. UC Berkeley, 1988
B. Phil. Oxford, 1990
D. Phil Oxford, 1993
J.D. Harvard, 1996
UCLA Faculty Since 1996

LAW 561A/B - Perspectives on Law and Lawyering

The course will focus on Justice Kagan’s forthcoming Tanner Lectures that will address issues concerning access by the poor, consumers, and tort victims to courts. Her lectures will primarily focus on class actions but will also touch on criminal law.   Students in the course will have unique access to Justice Kagan’s writings prior to publication.

We will read some background cases, her lectures, and commentaries by a politically and methodologically diverse range of scholars. We may also read related academic articles about recent cases and proposed legislation aiming to constrict or to widen access to courts.  We will also discuss what other measures attorneys may take to facilitate access to courts, where access is important, to channel other forms of conflict away from courts, where courts are over-used or a poor fit for the problem, and where relevant, to improve non-judicial means of addressing social conflicts and problems. The course would aim to draw together some issues and themes from contracts, torts, constitutional law, civil procedure and legal ethics.  

Tentative reading list:

Our first session will be devoted to background: reading and discussing some of the contemporary Supreme Court cases and pieces of legislation that have altered or constricted access to courts and discussing their cumulative effects.  

The second and third sessions will be devoted to Justice Kagan’s lectures.

The final two sessions will be devoted to scholarly commentaries on the issues and on Justice Kagan’s lectures. 

No more than 150 pages will be assigned per session and some sessions will involve substantially fewer pages.  Students will be asked to post two questions or comments (no more than 1 single spaced page) two days before each session.  Materials will be available on-line or by distribution to students’ boxes.

Dates, Times, and Expected Locations:    

Monday, January 26th, 2015, 6:15-9 p.m., Santa Monica 

Monday, February 9th, 2015, 6:15-9 p.m., Santa Monica

Monday, February 23rd, 2015, 6:15-9 p.m., Santa Monica

Monday, March 9th, 2015, 6:15-9 p.m., Santa Monica

Monday, March 30th, 2015 6:15-9 p.m., Santa Monica


I’ll provide a modest vegetarian dinner at my home which is easily accessible by car and also by bus from UCLA taking the #8 Big Blue Bus (the #1, #3, and #2 also work but take a bit longer).  The idea is that you would arrive by 6:15 for dinner and that we would sit down to start our discussion by 6:30.  If you are driving, you should plan to be in your car and leave UCLA by no later than 5:30.  If you are taking the bus, you should plan to be at the Hilgard terminal by 5:20.