Professor Ascanio Piomelli attended Stanford University, A.B. History (1982), and Stanford Law School, J.D. (1985). Before joining UC Hastings in 1992 to help launch the Civil Justice Clinic, Professor Piomelli worked as a legal services attorney in Fresno, California, where he litigated on behalf of low-income workers and tenants. He also served as an attorney and later executive director of the East Palo Alto Community Law Project, then Stanford Law School’s primary clinical outplacement. There he worked to enforce the city’s rent stabilization law, improve housing conditions, and facilitate citizen participation in local land-use decisions—as part of community efforts to resist gentrification and residential displacement.
The faculty advisor of the Social Justice Lawyering Concentration, his academic writing centers on efforts by attorneys and other activists to create progressive social change. He explores the models of lawyering and social change informing such work, the relationships between lawyers, clients, and communities, and the impact of race, class, and gender on those efforts. He is proponent and analyst of a “collaborative,” “rebellious,” or what he and others now label a "democratic" approach to social-change lawyering—in which lawyers work with, rather than on behalf of, clients and communities to collectively press for social change. His recent work has explored the participatory democratic vision and values that underlie such efforts.
Professor Piomelli lives in San Francisco with his spouse, Joanne Lee, and their daughters Maia and Solana. His passions include food, baseball, and jazz.
Courses Taught: Community Economic Development Clinic, Community Group Advocacy and Social-Change Lawyering Clinic, and the Social Justice Lawyering Concentration Core Seminar
Expertise: Social-Change Lawyering, Clinical Legal Education, Community Legal Services, Wage & Hour Law, and Tenant-Landlord Law
My favorite parts about teaching you are... watching you experience the joys and challenges of providing outstanding legal representation to clients and helping you to integrate your life experiences, values, temperament, personality, and strengths into your personal vision of the sort of lawyer that you aim to become.
What I hope you get from a legal education at UC Hastings is... the skill, confidence, and knowledge - of the law, lawyering, and yourself - to follow your heart and become a lawyer who loves your work and the consequences that you bring about.