Associate Dean for Experiential Learning and Professor of Law


Professor Ascanio Piomelli serves as Associate Dean for Experiential Learning, directs the Community Group Advocacy & Social Change Lawyering Clinic, teaches the Individual Representation and the Community Economic Development Clinic, and is the faculty advisor of the Social Justice Lawyering Concentration. His scholarship centers on efforts by attorneys and other activists to foster 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 a leading exponent and analyst of a “collaborative,” “rebellious,” or what he and others 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 work has explored the participatory democratic vision, values, and practices that underlie such efforts.

He 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 (now the Community Justice Clinics), he 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.

Professor Piomelli lives in San Francisco with his spouse, Joanne Lee, and their daughters. His passions include food, baseball, and jazz.



  1. Stanford Law School 1985

    J.D., Law

  2. Stanford University 1982

    A.B., History


  1. UC Hastings 1066 Foundation Faculty Award 2005

    for scholarly excellence

Selected Scholarship

  1. Rebellious Heroes 2016

    Clinical Law Review

  2. Sensibilities for Social Justice Lawyers 2013

    Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal

  3. The Challenge of Democratic Lawyering 2009

    Fordham Law Review

  4. Cross-Cultural Lawyering by the Book: The Latest Clinical Texts and a Sketch of a Future Agenda 2006

    Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal

  5. The Democratic Roots of Colaborative Lawyering 2006

    Clinical Law Review

  6. Foucault's Approach to Power: Its Allure and Limits for Collaborative Lawyering 2004

    Utah Law Review

  7. Appreciating Collaborative Lawyering 2000

    Clinical Law Review


  1. Community Advocacy Clinic
  2. Social Justice Concentration Seminar
  3. Civil Justice Clinic