The Stephen and Sandra Sheller Center for Social Justice at Temple
University Beasley School of Law supports social justice inquiry and
advocacy at the Law School. Building on Temple’s long-standing and deep
commitment to social justice, the Sheller Center works in collaboration
with Temple Law faculty and students, community groups, the Philadelphia
and Pennsylvania legal communities, and other schools and departments
within Temple University to improve access to justice for underserved
populations in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania.
Through the Sheller Center, Temple Law students can gain hands-on experience
in social justice work by participating in the Social Justice Lawyering Clinic,
which supports low-wage workers in enforcing workplace rights and engages in policy
advocacy on behalf of these workers and immigrants generally. Clinic faculty and
students work in close cooperation with community groups and legal services organizations
to identify key issues and research potential solutions. A second clinic, focusing on
different social justice issues, will open this year. The Center also supports faculty
and students engaged in social justice activity through the Law School’s other clinical
programs, practicums, courses and volunteer projects.
The Sheller Center will employ three basic tools in carrying out its
work. One is partnership with the community organizations that
know best what problems stand in the way of access to public
resources for those who need them. When the solution calls for
changes to policy, students and lawyers at the Sheller Center will work
to make those changes through white papers and legislative
proposals. And when litigation is required, they will pursue
that zealously as well.
The support provided by the Sheller Center can take various forms.
For example, the Center facilitates collaborations by connecting faculty
and students with partners elsewhere at Temple and in the larger community.
The Center raises the visibility of social justice efforts at the law school
by improving information flows and communications to students, faculty, and alumni.
And the Center offers an institutional home for social justice efforts - a
place where programs can be organized, planned, and held.
Press Release – Barriers to Justice
Barriers to Justice for Non-English Speakers
in Pennsylvania Courts (PDF)
Message from Dean Epps
Press Release – A Changing Landscape
A Changing Landscape
Temple Law has a long, rich history of partnering with local
organizations to perform both outreach and education about the
issues confronting their communities. These efforts will be
continued and enhanced by the work of the Sheller Center, so
that it becomes not just a resource but a collaborator in the
pursuit of justice. By engaging with public and private
organizations addressing a spectrum of concerns, the Sheller
Center will be able to identify both problems and legal
solutions more nimbly than agencies with a narrower focus. It
will be the place where, in a very real way, law meets life.
Laws work best when they work for everyone. In a society
governed by the rule of law, legislative bodies are charged with
ensuring that our laws meet the needs of widely disparate
communities. Because the core of the Sheller Center's work will be
cause-driven, not assistance-driven, the Sheller Center will be in a
position to pursue legislative solutions to the problems
confronting our communities. At the Sheller Center, Temple Law students
and recent graduates will work with community representatives to
research and draft policy papers that can be used to craft
effective, fair laws for the entire community.
Sometimes, litigation is the most effective path to
resolution of a problem. When this is the case, students and
lawyers at the Sheller Center will pursue it with skill and passion. The
Center will provide free legal representation regardless of
means or ability to pay in matters with the potential to impact
underserved communities that would otherwise languish. In this
way, students will develop the judgment to discern the right
solution, and to pursue outcomes that are fair for the entire
For more information about the Stephen and Sandra Sheller Center for Social Justice, please
contactDeborah Feldman at 215.204.8979 or