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.

Community Partnership

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP

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.

Legislation

LEGISLATION

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.

Litigation

LITIGATION

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 community.

INTRODUCTORY VIDEO

For more information about the Stephen and Sandra Sheller Center for Social Justice, please contact
Deborah Feldman at 215.204.8979 or dfeldman@temple.edu