Dannnye K. Holley, Dean and Professor of Law

About Us

The Earl Carl Institute for Legal and Social Policy, Inc. was established in 1992 by Professor Marcia Johnson as a research and writing think tank at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law. It is a non-profit corporation exempt from taxation pursuant to §501(c)(3), of the Internal Revenue Code.

The Institute was named in honor of Professor Earl Carl, a founding faculty member of the law school. Professor Carl, blind from an early age, graduated from Fisk University before going on to earn his law degree from Yale University Law School. He is a human symbol that people can accomplish whatever they are willing to despite all odds. His achievements remind us that we are limited only by the barriers we chose not to overcome.

Sarah Guidry

The Earl Carl Institute serves as an advocacy organization, which seeks to identify, address and offer solutions to issues that affect traditionally urban and disenfranchised communities. The Institute is specifically designed to provide resources to train Thurgood Marshall students in legal advocacy and enhance their research and writing skills.

The Institute has grown significantly from its creation as a skills enhancement program for law students to an advocacy organization that trains students in research, writing, advocacy skills, leadership, office management, and problem solving.

ECI generally undertakes projects that have one of three outcomes. These outcomes are (1) Student Development, (2) Public Policy Initiatives, and (3) Community Education. In addition, these projects fall into ECI’s current priority research areas: (1) Criminal Justice, (2) Education, (3) Family, and (4) Housing.

Internally, ECI’s current operations are primarily facilitated through its four centers: (1) Center for Civil Advocacy, (2) Center for Criminal Justice, (3) Center for Government Law and (4) Center for Student Development and Publications. The Institute employs an Executive Director and three Associate Directors who oversee the operations of each center.

Sarah GuidryMission

The mission of the Institute is to identify, address, and offer solutions to legal and social problems that affect traditionally urban and disenfranchised communities. The Institute, through interdisciplinary scholarship and advocacy, aims to develop the leadership, research, and advocacy skills of law students to encourage public service and to enable the students to effectively address problems of underserved communities.


The vision of the Institute is to serve as one of the nation’s preeminent centers for research and advocacy on legal and social issues affecting underserved communities. We will serve as a leading voice in promoting social justice and be recognized for excellence in our programs and the quality of our community engagement.

The Core Beliefs of the Earl Carl Institute

The core beliefs of the Institute are --

  • to promote excellence in education using an interdisciplinary approach to create excellent future leaders who will advance social justice;
  • to provide an effective service delivery component to address the needs of individual citizens and advance community representation;
  • to contribute to public discourse by producing high quality significant research that enhances public policy discussions;
  • to provide accessibility to the Institute and its programs in order to foster an environment that promotes equality for traditionally underserved populations; and
  • to have a significant role in facilitating awareness that contributes to the advancement of civil rights and social justice.





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