Every year, the American family policing system separates roughly half a million children from their parents. This system, though long overlooked, is increasingly being recognized for what it is: a way to control and terrorize politically marginalized communities. To date, however, challenges to family policing have largely focused on state agencies as the primary actors in this system, and courtrooms as the primary battleground, while paying less attention to other driving forces like capitalism, public-private relationships, and the powerful investigative and administrative structures in which the judicial venue is nested. Taking the lead from abolitionist’s broader work that seeks to fundamentally re-draw relationships and the distribution of resources, law school clinics should similarly expand their advocacy beyond now well-trod legal paths.
The question of how to put LPE into practice in legal services work naturally raises questions around methodology: who should elucidate and fulfill an agenda for life-affirming social change, and how should we go about it? More specific to lawyering, who should occupy the role of a lawyer fighting alongside her clients for racial and economic justice?