Scott L. Cummings

Robert Henigson Professor of Legal Ethics
Professor of Law

  • B.A. University of California, Berkeley, 1992
  • J.D. Harvard, 1996
  • UCLA Faculty Since 2002

Scott Cummings is Robert Henigson Professor of Legal Ethics and Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, where he teaches and writes about the legal profession, public interest law, law and social movements, and community economic development. He is the faculty director of Legal Ethics and the Profession (LEAP), a program promoting research and programming on the challenges facing the contemporary legal profession. He is also a long-time member of the UCLA David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, a specialization training students to become public interest lawyers.

Professor Cummings’s research is focused on economic development, law and social movements, and the legal profession. His most recent book, Blue and Green: The Drive for Justice at America’s Port (MIT University Press, 2018), examines the role of lawyers in a campaign by the labor and environmental movements to transform the trucking industry at the port of Los Angeles. An Equal Place: Lawyers in the Struggle for Los Angeles, a sweeping study of how lawyers have helped to challenge inequality in one of America’s most unequal cities, is scheduled for publication by Oxford University Press in 2020.

Professor Cummings is also the co-author of the first public interest law textbook, Public Interest Lawyering: A Contemporary Perspective (with Alan Chen) (Wolters Kluwer, 2012), and co-editor of a leading legal profession casebook, Legal Ethics (with Deborah Rhode, David Luban, and Nora Engstrom) (7th ed. Foundation Press, 2016). He also edited The Paradox of Professionalism: Lawyers and the Possibility of Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Professor Cummings is currently co-Principal Investigator of a National Science Foundation funded study (with Richard Abel and Catherine Albiston), which examines the factors causing law students to enter and persevere in public interest careers. His key articles include: “The Social Movement Turn in Law,” Law & Social Inquiry (2018); “The Puzzle of Social Movements in American Legal Theory,” 64 UCLA Law Review 1554 (2017); "Preemptive Strike: Law in the Campaign for Clean Trucks," 4 UC Irvine Law Review 939 (2014); “Privatizing Public Interest Law," 25 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 1 (2012); “The Internationalization of Public Interest Law,” 57 Duke Law Journal 891 (2008); “The Politics of Pro Bono,” 52 UCLA Law Review 1 (2004); and “Community Economic Development as Progressive Politics: Toward a Grassroots Movement for Economic Justice,” 54 Stanford Law Review 399 (2001).

Before joining the UCLA faculty in 2002, Professor Cummings clerked for Judge A. Wallace Tashima on the Ninth Circuit, and James Moran on the district court in Chicago. He began his legal career in Los Angeles building economic opportunity in low-income communities.  In 1998, after clerking in Chicago, he was awarded a Skadden Fellowship to work in the Community Development Project at Public Counsel in Los Angeles, where he provided transactional legal assistance to nonprofit organizations and small businesses engaged in community revitalization efforts.

Bibliography

  • Books
    • Global Pro Bono: Causes, Context, and Contestation (edited by Scott L. Cummings, Fabiio De Sa E Silva, and Louise G. Trubek). Cambridge University Press (forthcoming Jan. 2021). Book Info
    • An Equal Place: Lawyers in the Struggle for Los Angeles. Oxford University Press (forthcoming Nov. 2020). Book Info
    • Blue and Green: The Drive for Justice at America's Port. MIT Univ. Press (2018).
    • Legal Ethics (edited by Deborah L. Rhode, David Luban, Scott Cummings, and Nora Engstrom). 7th ed. Foundation Press (2016). Student and Teacher's Update (with Deborah L. Rhode, David Luban, and Nora Engstrom, Foundation Press, 2018); Teacher's Manual (with Deborah L. Rhode, David Luban, and Nora Engstrom, Foundation Press, 2016). Prior edition: 6th, 2012.
    • Public Interest Lawyering: A Contemporary Perspective (with Alan K. Chen). Wolters Kluwer (2012). Teacher's Manual (with Alan K. Chen, Wolters Kluwer, 2014).
    • The Paradox of Professionalism: Lawyers and the Possibility of Justice (edited by Scott Cummings). Cambridge University Press (2011).
  • Articles, Essays & Book Chapters
    • United States: Out of Many Legal Professions, One? (with Carroll S Seron, Ann Southworth, Rebecca L Sandefur, Steven A Boutcher and Anna Raup-Kounovsky), in Lawyers in 21st-Century Societies: Vol 1: National Reports (edited by edited by Richard L. Abel and Ole Hammerslev, with Hilary Sommerlad and Ulrike Schultz, Hart Publishers, 2020). Country report on the U.S. legal profession for a comparative legal professions book project edited by Ole Hammerslev, Ulrike Schultz & Hilary Sommerlad.
    • Preemption as a Tool of Misclassification (with Emma Curran Donnelly Hulse), 66 UCLA Law Review 1872 (2019).
    • Case Study 4: Lawyer for a Coalition with an Informal Leader (with Michael Haber), 47 Hofstra Law Review 61 (2018). Special issue on Ethical Issues in Movement Lawyering.
    • Living Poor in the Affluent City, UCLA Law Review Discourse (2018). Commentary on land use equity in Los Angeles as part of Law Meets World series. Full Text
    • Law and Social Movements: Reimagining the Progressive Canon, 2018 Wisconsin Law Review 441 (2018). Full Text
    • A Reflection on the Ethics of Movement Lawyering (with Susan D. Carle), 31 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 447 (2018).
    • The Social Movement Turn in Law, 43 Law & Social Inquiry 360 (2018). Full Text
    • The Puzzle of Social Movements in American Legal Theory, 64 UCLA Law Review 1552 (2017).
    • Movement Lawyering, 2017 Univ. of Illinois Law Review 1645 (2017). Excerpted in Leadership: Law, Policy, and Management (edited by Deborah L. Rhode & Amanda K. Packet, 2nd ed. 2017). Reprinted in 27 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 87 (2020). Full Text
    • Access to Justice: Looking Back, Thinking Ahead (with Deborah L. Rhode), 30 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 485 (2017). Full Text
    • Law and Social Movements: An Interdisciplinary Analysis, in Handbook of Social Movements Across Disciplines 233 (edited by Conny Roggeband & Bert Klandermands, Springer, 2017).
    • Rethinking the Foundational Critiques of Lawyers in Social Movements, 85 Fordham Law Review 1987 (2017). Full Text
    • Teaching Movements, 65 Journal of Legal Education 374 (2015). Full Text
    • Public Interest Law: The United States and Beyond, in International Encyclopedia of the Social And Behavioral Sciences 555 (edited by James D. Wright, Elsevier, 2015).
    • Poverty Law: United States (with Jeffrey Selbin), in International Encyclopedia of the Social And Behavioral Sciences (edited by James D. Wright, Elsevier, 2015). Full Text
    • Preemptive Strike: Law in the Campaign for Clean Trucks, 4 UC Irvine Law Review 939 (2015). Excerpted in Transnational Law: Cases and Problems in an Interconnected World (Alfred C. Aman, Jr. & Carol J. Greenhouse eds., 2017). Full Text
    • Mobilizing Law for Justice in Asia: A Comparative Approach (with Frank W. Munger and Louise G. Trubek), 31(3) Wisconsin International Law Journal 353 (2014). Full Text
    • How Lawyers Manage Intragroup Dissent, 89 Chicago-Kent Law Review 547 (2014). Full Text
    • Empirical Studies of Law and Social Change: What Is the Field? What Are the Questions?, 2013 Wisconsin Law Review 171 (2013). Full Text
    • Beyond the Numbers: What We Know—and Should Know—About American Pro Bono (with Rebecca L. Sandefur), 7 Harvard Law & Policy Review 83 (2013). Full Text
    • Community Benefits Agreements (with Benjamin S. Beach), in Community Economic Development Law: A Text For Engaged Learning (edited by Susan Bennet, Brenda Bratton Blom, Louise Howells & Deborah Kenn, Carolina Academic Press, 2012).
    • Review Essay, 61 Journal of Legal Education 711 (2012). Reviewing Stones of Hope: How African Activists Reclaim Human Rights to Challenge Global Poverty, edited by Lucie E. White & Jeremy Perleman, Stanford Univ. Press 2011.
    • Privatizing Public Interest Law, 25 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 1 (2012). Full Text
    • The Accountability Problem in Public Interest Practice: Old Paradigms and New Directions, in Lawyers In Practice: Ethical Decision Making In Context (edited by Lynn Mather & Leslie Levin, University of Chicago Press, 2012). Edited version published as Keynote Speech, How Lawyers Manage Intragroup Dissent, 89 Chicago-Kent Law Review 547 (2014).
    • The Pursuit of Legal Rights—and Beyond, 56 UCLA Law Review 506 (2012). Full Text
    • The Future of Public Interest Law, 33 University of Arkansas Little Rock Law Journal 355 (2011). Invited Lecture at University at Arkansas Little Rock Bowen School of Law, Altheimer Symposium, Reframing Public Service Law: Innovative Approaches to Integrating Public Service into the Legal Profession.
      Full Text
    • Litigation at Work: Defending Day Labor in Los Angeles, 58 UCLA Law Review 1617 (2011). Full Text
    • Labor Activism in Local Politics: From CBAS to "CBAS" and Beyond (with Katherine Stone), in The Idea of Labour Law (edited by Guy Davidov & Brian Languille, Oxford University Press, 2011). Full Text
    • What Good Are Lawyers?, in The Paradox Of Professionalism: Lawyers and the Possibility of Justice (edited by Scott L. Cummings, Cambridge University Press, 2011). Full Text
    • Lawyering for Marriage Equality (with Doug NeJaime), 57 UCLA Law Review 1235 (2010). Edited version published in 7 UCLA Scholarly Perspectives 5 (2011); excerpted in Legal Ethics (6th ed., edited by Deborah L. Rhode, David Luban & Scott L. Cummings, 2012); and excerpted in Public Interest Lawyering: A Contemporary Perspective (edited by Alan K. Chen & Scott L. Cummings, Wolters Kluwer, 2012). Full Text
    • Managing Pro Bono: Doing Well by Doing Better (with Deborah L. Rhode), 78 Fordham Law Review 2359 (2010). Full Text
    • Mobilizing Local Government Law for Low-Wage Workers (with Steven A. Boutcher), 2009 Univ. Of Chicago Legal Forum 187 (2009). Full Text
    • Hemmed In: Legal Mobilization in the Los Angeles Anti-Sweatshop Movement, 30 Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law 1 (2009). Full Text
    • Between Profit and Principle: The Private Public Interest Firm (with Ann Southworth), in Private Lawyers and the Public Interest: The Evolving Role of Pro Bono in the Legal Professio (edited by Robert Granfield & Lynn Mather, Oxford University Press, 2009). Full Text
    • Public Interest Litigation: Insights from Theory and Practice, 36 Fordham Urban Law Journal 603 (2009). Full Text
    • Globalizing Public Interest Law (with Louise G. Trubek), 13 UCLA Journal of International Law & Foreign Affairs 1-53 (2009). Revised Version reprinted at 9 International Review of Constitutionalism 1 (2009). Special Issue: Law, Poverty and Economic Inequality (Penelope Andrews & Frank Munger eds., 2010). Excerpted in Public Interest Lawyering: A Contemporary Perspective (edited by Alan K. Chen & Scott L. Cummings, Wolters Kluwer, 2012). Full Text
    • The Internationalization of Public Interest Law, 57 Duke Law Journal 891 (2008). Excerpted in Public Interest Lawyering: A Contemporary Perspective (edited by Alan K. Chen & Scott L. Cummings, Wolters Kluwer, 2012). Full Text
    • Law in the Labor Movement’s Challenge to Wal-Mart: A Case Study of the Inglewood Site Fight, 95 California Law Rreview 1927 (2007). Excerpted in Labor Law in the Contemporary Workplace (edited by Martin Malin, Roberto Corrada, Christopher Cameron & Catherine Fisk, West Publishing 2009). Full Text
    • Critical Legal Consciousness in Action, 120(39) Harvard Law Review forum 62 (2007). Reply to Orly Lobel, "The Paradox of Extralegal Activism: Critical Legal Consciousness and Transformative Politics," 120 Harvard Law Review 937 (2007). Full Text
    • Global-Local Linkages in the Community Economic Development Field, in Progressive Lawyering, Globalization and Markets: Rethinking Ideology and Strategy (edited by Clare Dalton, William S. Hein & Co, 2007). Full Text
    • Mobilization Lawyering: Community Economic Development in the Figueroa Corridor, in Cause Lawyers and Social Movements 302 (edited by Austin Sarat & Stuart Scheingold, Stanford University Press, 2006). Reprinted at 1 Irish Review of Community Economic Development Law & Policy 11 (2011); and edited version reprinted at 17 Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law 59 (2007).
    • Review Essay, After Public Interest Law (with Ingrid V. Eagly), 100 Northwestern University Law Review 1251 (2006).  Reviewing Suburban Sweatshops: The Fight for Immigrant Rights, by Jennifer Gordon. Full Text
    • The Federal Role in Community Economic Development (with Benjamin S. Beach), 40 Clearinghouse Review 89 (2006).
    • The Politics of Pro Bono, (52) UCLA Law Review 1 (2004). Excerpted in Problems in Professional Responsibility (edited by Andrew L. Kaufman & David Wilkins, 5th ed. 2009); and excerpted in Contemporary Civil Litigation (edited by Steven Yeazell, 2009). Full Text
    • Recentralization: Community Development and the Case for Regionalism, 8 Journal of Small & Emerging Business Law 131 (2004). Symposium: Perspectives on Community Economic Development.
    • Between Markets and Politics: A Response to Porter’s Competitive Advantage Thesis, 82 Oregon Law Review 901 (2004).
    • Toward a New Theory of Community Economic Development (with Gregory Volz), 37 Clearinghouse Review 158 (2003). Special Issue: Economic Development Strategies for Individuals and Communities.
    • Community Economic Development as Progressive Politics: Toward a Grassroots Movement for Economic Justice, 54 Stanford Law Review 399 (2001). Reprinted in The International Library of Essays in Law and Society: Law and Poverty (edited by Frank Munger, Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2006). Full Text
    • A Critical Reflection on Law and Organizing (with Ingrid V. Eagly), 48 UCLA Law Review 443-517 (2001). Excerpted in Social Justice: Professionals, Communities and Law (edited by Martha R. Mahoney, John O. Calmore, Stephanie M. Wildman, 2003). Full Text
    • Developing Cooperatives as a Job Creation Strategy for Low Income Workers, 25 NYU Review of Law and Social Change 181 (1999).
    • The Politics of Helping: Reflections on Identity, Ethics, and Defending the Poor, 6 Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy 43 (1999).
    • Affirmative Action and the Rhetoric of Individual Rights: Reclaiming Liberalism as a “Color Conscious” Theory, 13 Harvard Blackletter Law Journal 183 (1997).
  • Commentaries, Editorials, & Briefs
    • Introductory Overview: Community Economic Development is Access to Justice, 27 Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law 463 (2019).
    • Inequality, Polarization Undermine Ethical Lawyering, L.A. Daily Journal (March 27, 2019).
    • Thematic Overview: Community Development Law and Economic Justice--Why Law Matters, 26 Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law 35 (2017).
    • Op-Ed, How L.A. Should Grow (with Doug Smith), L.A. Times at A13 (Mar. 23, 2017).
    • When A Case Sparks a Social Movement, 23 Southwestern Journal of International Law 291-97 (2017). Transcript published at Panel Discussion: The El Monte Sweatshop Slavery Cases, on the El Monte Thai Worker litigation, Bureerong v. Uvawas, 922 F. Supp. 1450 (C.D. Cal. 1996); adapted from Hemmed In: Legal Mobilization in the Los Angeles Anti-Sweatshop Movement, 30 Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law 1 (2009).
    • Pro Bono: Quantity over Quality? (with Deborah Rhode), National Law Journal (July 17, 2010).
    • Deferral Economics (with Deborah Rhode), The American Lawyer at 45 (July/August 2010).
    • Doing Well by Doing Better (with Deborah L. Rhode), Supplement to the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal: Navigating Change In Pro Bono at 14 (Nov. 4, 2009).
    • Commentary, A Pragmatic Approach to Law and Organizing: A Comment on the Story of South Ardmore, 42 John Marshall Law Review 631 (2009).
    • A Tribute to Judge James Moran, The Circuit Rider 13 (Nov. 2009).
    • Editors Note, The Emergence of Community Benefits Agreements, (5) Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law (2007).
    • Counsel of Record, Brief of Amici Curiae Economics and Public Policy Professors in Support of Respondents, Daimler-Chrysler Corp. v. Cuno, (Supreme Court Nos. 04-1704, 04-1724.).
    • Access to Justice in the New Millennium: Achieving the Promise of Pro Bono, Human Rights (2005). A Revised Excerpt from “The Politics of Pro Bono,” 52 UCLA Law Review 1 (2004).
    • Commentary, Clinical Legal Education and Community Development, 13 Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law 208 (2005).
    • The Trickle After the Flood, Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law 12 (2005).
    • Lawyers, Unite (with Ingrid V. Eagly), Legal Affairs at 63 (2005). Reviewing Suburban Sweatshops: The Fight for Immigrant Rights, by Jennifer Gordon. Full Text
    • Commentary, Community Economic Development and the Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education, Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law 443 (2004).
    • Commentary, The New Politics of Poverty, 13 Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law 159 (2004).
    • Commentary, The Paradox of Community: A View from the Prismatic Metropolis, 8 Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law 8-17 (2003).
    • Commentary, Legal Pedagogy and Economic Justice, 17(3) Management Information Exchange 48 (Summer 2003).
    • Election Is Opportunity to Change City's Economic Policies, Los Angeles Daily Journal (June 4, 2001).
    • Events Highlight Need for Campaign Finance Reform, Los Angeles Daily Journal (March 26, 2001).
  • Accepted|Works In Progress
    • Law and Social Movements: Integrating Theory and Practice (under contract with Oxford University Press).
    • In It for Good: Individual and Institutional Determinants of Public Interest Law Careers (with Richard Abel and Catherine Albiston) (funded by National Science Foundation and Law School Admissions Council).
    • Global Pro Bono (comparative pro bono book project edited by Scott L. Cummings, Fabio de Sa e Silva and Louise Trubek, under contact with Cambridge University Press).