Justice Catalyst activates path-breaking approaches to social justice lawyering that have real-world impact and improve the lives of those denied access to justice.
The Catalyst’s work begins with the premise that the law can be both a sword and a shield for the most marginalized. Rather than starting with the legal subject matter and asking how it can address a social problem, the Catalyst focuses on injustices and the people they harm to determine all available approaches to achieving justice.
By putting the problem and people first, analyzing them from multiple perspectives, and drawing on underutilized tools in law and other disciplines, the Catalyst develops and supports creative legal strategies that have concrete impact on a broad scale. The Catalyst uses this approach to enhance the work of expert (but often siloed) advocates and those working on the front-lines, who are often denied the resources that would allow them to tackle the systematic injustices they confront daily.
Creative Legal Strategies
For example, civil rights advocates working to reform the criminal legal system face problems that are beyond the scope of civil rights law. To expand the tools available to tackle these challenges, the Catalyst works with experts and advocates on projects that apply commercial law to fight the financial exploitation of justice-involved people and their communities. As another example, abuses of workers may not be actionable under existing employment law, and persist because employers are undercutting competition. The Catalyst equips workers’ rights advocates with other tactics, like antitrust law, to expand their impact.
Strengthening the Community