Visiting Professor of Law
Scott Cummings is Robert Henigson Professor of Legal Ethics at the UCLA School of Law, where he teaches and writes about the legal profession, legal ethics, access to justice, and local government law.
A recipient of the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, Cummings is the founding faculty director of the UCLA Program on Legal Ethics and the Profession, which promotes empirical research and innovative programming on the challenges facing lawyers in the twenty-first century, and a long-time member of the UCLA David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. In 2021, Cummings was selected as the Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the European University Institute and a fellow at the Stanford Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences to study the role of lawyers in strengthening the rule of law. He was awarded a 2023 Guggenheim Fellowship to study the role of lawyers in democratic backsliding.
Cummings’s recent books explores how innovative legal mobilization produces transformative social change. His publications include Lawyers and Movements: Legal Mobilization in Transformative Times (Oxford forthcoming), An Equal Place: Lawyers in the Struggle for Los Angeles (Oxford 2021), and Global Pro Bono: Causes, Consequences and Contestation (with Fabio de Sa e Silva and Louise Trubek) (Cambridge 2021). Professor Cummings is also co-author of Making Public Interest Lawyers in a Time of Crisis: An Evidence-Based Approach (with Catherine Albiston and Richard Abel), a National Science Foundation funded study that examines the factors causing law students to enter and persevere in public interest careers.
Cummings is co-author of the first public interest law textbook, Public Interest Lawyering: A Contemporary Perspective (with Alan Chen) (Wolters Kluwer, 2012), and co-editor of a leading legal profession casebook, Legal Ethics (with Deborah Rhode, David Luban, and Nora Engstrom) (8th ed. Foundation Press, 2016). He is the author of numerous articles on lawyers and social justice, which have appeared in leading law reviews and peer-reviewed journals.
Before joining the UCLA faculty in 2002, Cummings clerked for the Honorable A. Wallace Tashima on the Ninth Circuit, and James Moran on the district court in Chicago. He began his legal career in Los Angeles working with community groups to build economic opportunity and political empowerment. In 1998, he was awarded a Skadden Fellowship to work in the Community Development Project at Public Counsel in Los Angeles, where he provided transactional legal assistance to nonprofit organizations and small businesses engaged in community development efforts. He has proudly continued working with colleagues at Public Counsel to advance economic justice through research and policy advancing, producing groundbreaking reports on the legal barriers to street vending and the need for countywide rent control.
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