Thursday, April 30, 2015

          Reuel Schiller, "Forging Rivals: Race, Class, Law, and the Collapse of Postwar Liberalism"

          Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Law Reuel Schiller’s new book explores how conflicts between labor law and employment discrimination law have undermined political liberalism in the United States.
          Professor Schiller

          Professor Schiller

          In Forging Rivals, Professor Reuel Schiller examines the contentious relationship between labor lawyers and civil rights lawyers in San Francisco in the three decades following World War II. 

          In doing so, Schiller explores the rise and fall of a particular kind of liberalism in which the state committed itself to both economic egalitarianism and ethnic, racial, and religious pluralism. He argues that the dual goals of promoting both facets of liberalism conflicted with one another. His historical narrative demonstrates that postwar liberalism was plagued by legal and institutional contradictions that spelled doom for progressive politics in the last third of the 20th century.

          It is a book that will relate to the experiences of students, alumni, and other attorneys, Schiller says. It allows them to follow the story of the development of two areas of law that they may have studied -- labor law and the law of employment discrimination -- while placing that story in a broader political context. It also tells the story of California lawyers who practiced in these areas (including some UC Hastings alumni, such as Terry Francois ‘49). Moreover, the book's narrative takes place in the Bay Area, telling a history of San Francisco in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960's. "In relating this story to broader trends in American politics,” notes Schiller, "it will help readers understand the current political and legal climate."

          Published by Cambridge University Press, Forging Rivals is a work of narrative history that makes its broad argument about liberalism through the use of concrete, fascinating stories about the interaction between labor lawyers and civil rights lawyers -- how they started out as allies and became rivals. "The story it tells is one of political and legal history," says Schiller. "The book has an accessible style that is designed to be read and enjoyed by anyone who is interested in American history." 

          About Reuel Schiller

          Professor Reuel Schiller specializes in American legal history, administrative law, and labor and employment law. He has written extensively about the legal history of the American administrative state, and the historical development of labor law and employment discrimination law.

          Professor Schiller graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in history. He also has a J.D. and a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Virginia. After college, he worked for the City of New York on immigration, criminal justice, education, and civil rights policy. During law school he served on the Virginia Law Review and was elected to Order of the Coif.

          After graduating from law school, Professor Schiller clerked for Judge J. Frederick Motz of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Following his clerkship, he was a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at New York University School of Law and a Louis Prashker Teaching Fellow at St. John’s University School of Law.

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