UCLA School of Law Professor Scott Cummings was awarded the 2020-21 Fulbright-Schuman Chair at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, the preeminent center of research on the European Union.
Starting in the spring of 2021, Cummings will conduct an interdisciplinary study of how lawyers use strategic litigation to advance claims before European Union courts in support of domestic movements for equality and political inclusion. He will compare findings from the E.U. with the experience of legal reform in the United States. As part of the fellowship, Cummings will also teach and give a series of public lectures around Europe.
Cummings is the Robert Henigson Professor of Legal Ethics at UCLA Law and faculty director of the Program on Legal Ethics and the Profession. He is an expert in public interest law, law and social movements, and community economic development.
“At its core,” he says, “my Fulbright project addresses the fragility and power of the rule of law at this particular historical moment by studying how lawyers defend and promote values of liberalism — protecting minority rights and political openness — in illiberal times. The lessons are crucial to understanding the future of democracy in the E.U. and here in the U.S.”
Cummings’ 2018 book, Blue and Green: The Drive for Justice at America’s Port (MIT Press), analyzes the role of lawyers in a campaign to transform the trucking industry at the Port of Los Angeles. His next book, An Equal Place: Lawyers in the Struggle for Los Angeles (Oxford University Press), a broader study of how lawyers have challenged inequality in Los Angeles, is due out later this year.
Among the most prestigious academic honors, the Fulbright Program was established by Congress in 1946 as an intellectual exchange that fosters scholarship and diplomacy between the United States and countries around the world. Fulbright chairs are considered the most distinguished Fulbright fellowships, with about 40 awarded each year. Fulbright alumni include leaders in government, the judiciary, academia, business, journalism, science and the arts.