The West Coast Progressive Lawyering Conference

Shaking the Foundations is a conference that brings together progressive legal minds from the West Coast and across the country to discuss present and future issues within the movement, explore the role of young lawyers, and encourage attendees to work toward social and environmental justice. The goal of Shaking the Foundations is to connect, inspire, and educate those who want to pursue public interest goals and careers. Thank you to all of our panelists, speakers, practioners and attendees who made the fifteenth Shaking the Foundations the best one yet!

Networking Opportunities

In addition to the panels and workshops, Shaking the Foundations offers two networking opportunities for students. On Friday, October 17th the conference will hold its "wine and cheese" networking event. Students can sign up for 15-minute sessions with local public-interest practicioners, giving them the chance to learn about potential employers early in the school year. On Saturday, October 18th, there will be a lunch mixer allowing students and practicioners the chance to mingle in a less formal setting. You can see a list of participating practioners here.

Once you register, keep an eye out for a signup for the one-on-one mentoring!

Bay Area Students

Shakings is a forum for connecting and building the social justice movement across schools. We hope you'll join us in making this a successful and inspiring event! Housing may be available, check back here to stay updated.

2014 Keynote Speaker: Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar.  In recent years, she has taught at a number of universities, including Stanford Law School, where she was an associate professor of law and directed the Civil Rights Clinics.  In 2005, she won a Soros Justice Fellowship, which supported the writing of The New Jim Crow, and that same year she accepted a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University.  The New Jim Crow has received rave reviews, become a New York Times bestseller, and has been featured in national radio and television media outlets, including NPR, The Bill Moyers Journal, the Tavis Smiley Show, MSNBC, C-Span Washington Journal, among others.  The book won the 2011 NAACP Image Award for best non-fiction. 

Prior to entering academia, Alexander served as the Director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California, where she coordinated the Project’s media advocacy, grassroots organizing, coalition-building, and litigation.  The Project’s priority areas were educational equity and criminal justice reform, and it was during those years that she launched  a major campaign against racial profiling by law enforcement, known as the “DWB Campaign” or “Driving While Black or Brown Campaign.”  In addition to her non-profit advocacy experience, Alexander has worked as a litigator at private law firms, including at Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller, in Oakland, California, where she specialized in plaintiff-side class action lawsuits alleging race and gender discrimination. 

Alexander is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Vanderbilt University. Following law school, she clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the United States Supreme Court, and for Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.   She currently devotes her time to freelance writing, consulting with advocacy organizations committed to building racial justice movements, and, most importantly, raising her three young children -- the most challenging and rewarding job of all.