Professor Edgar S. Cahn ’63 to Present Dean’s Lecture on Issues Impacting Law and Justice

Edgar S. Cahn ’63, Professor of Law at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, will deliver a Dean’s Lecture on September 29, 2014.

The talk, titled “The Change That’s Coming,” will be held at 4:30 pm in the Faculty Lounge at Yale Law School. The event is open to the public.

Cahn is known as a pioneer of poverty law and clinical legal education. He is the CEO and founder of TimeBanks USA, a system of currency that values time over money. TimeBanking allows community members to earn, track, and trade services that range from home repair to medical care. Cahn also serves as an Ashoka Fellow, one of a group of leading social entrepreneurs recognized to have innovative solutions to social problems and the potential to change patterns across society.

His lecture will look at some of the issues making the biggest impact in law and justice now, from the aging of baby boomers and global warming to open-source software and massive open online courses (MOOCs). Cahn challenges the usual approaches and underlying assumptions in problem solving and presents new ideas on advancing justice in lasting ways.

“The legal profession and the legal system must develop new tools and undergo its own transformation if it is to effectively address past shortcomings, advance justice, preserve fundamental values and enable our society to cope with an unprecedented rate of change,” said Cahn. “My hope is that law schools might function as a kind of R&D division and incubator for innovations that strengthen democracy, expand opportunity, advance social justice, and promote ecological sustainability.”

Cahn began his career as a speechwriter and Special Counsel to Attorney General Robert Kennedy and went on to serve as Executive Assistant to Sargent Shriver in the Office of Economic Opportunity.

He is co-founder of the Time Dollar Youth Court in Washington, D.C. The court handles more than 50 percent of non-violent crimes by teenagers in D.C. It has reduced recidivism below 10 percent by creating a teen jury that imposes sentences on first offenders. Cahn is also the co-founder of the National Homecomers’ Academy (which aids formerly incarcerated people in finding new roles in their communities), the National Legal Services Program, and the Antioch School of Law (now the University of the District of Columbia School of Law).

Cahn is the author of Hunger U.S.A., Our Brother’s Keeper: The Indian in White America, Citizen Participation: A Case Book in Democracy, Time Dollar, No More Throw-Away People, and Priceless Money.