View Professor Vogel's personal website: www.howardvogel.com
"Law is artwork in pursuit of justice, performed by lawyers in a social context, through the craft of counseling and advocacy. If it is to be practiced elegantly, it requires mastery and compassion."
Professor Howard Vogel is known for not only teaching the principles of law, but also for helping students learn how to think seriously about their professional identity as lawyers. Trained in both law and theology, Professor Vogel's teaching and research is located at the intersection of law, religion and ethics and focuses on the possibilities of law to serve the common good in a diverse social and cultural context. He teaches Constitutional Law, Restorative Justice, International Human Rights, and a seminar in ethics that explores the lawyer's professional identity and responsibility within the context of the quest for integrity in the practice of law. In 2005, as an extension of this seminar, Vogel created a program of continuing education for lawyers entitled The Courage to Practice Law with Integrity. In recent years, his teaching and scholarship have increasingly been devoted to exploring the promise of restorative justice as an approach to conflict resolution for social healing based on social justice principles.
Prior to joining the Hamline Law faculty, Vogel did extensive public interest litigation in environmental law and was a staff attorney with the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group.
Vogel's current research and writing is devoted to exploring the possibilities for reconstructing law in an age of deconstruction to serve the common good. This work is expressed in two dimensions: (1) reframing law, human rights theory and the vocation of the lawyer in a relational perspective with the resources of process thought; and (2) the possibilities of restorative justice as a resource for healing the trauma of America's past resulting from the dispossession of indigenous people from their homelands and the problem of the color-line in the United States.
The first of these dimensions of work is entitled The Rules are Secondary: Recovering the Spirit of Law in Process and Context - Essays on the Possibilities of Law and the Promise of the Legal Profession to Serve the Common Good in the World We Share. This project involves an exploration of the potential of the resources of process thought, with special attention to the process-relational philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, to reframe our understanding of law, its study and practice, in a post-modern reconstructive paradigm that takes events rather than substance as the primary dimension of experience. As such it departs from the dominance of the substance-based perspective of modern philosophy to embrace the possibilities of law-as-process with a purpose, namely to secure justice more widely shared within the community of life.
The second of these dimensions of work is entitled Making Peace with the Land and Each Other: Healing the Trauma of America's Past -- Making the Possibilities of Law Concrete in the World We Share. This project involves an exploration of the potential of restorative justice practices and principles as a creative response to the legacy of ethnic cleansing and slavery in the United States. The dispossession of the indigenous peoples of their land which was then worked with slave labor based on the color-line have brought a legacy of trauma to both the victims and beneficiaries of these practices which is evident in a host of data about widespread social dislocation, dysfunction and injustice in the present day. This project explores the potential of restorative justice to address the full truth of that past with courage as a step toward the development of action aimed at creative transformation in the present so that all life may flourish.
For more than twenty-five years, Vogel has been an active member of the Society of Christian Ethics, and he is co-founder of the Restorative Justice Interest Group of the Society. Since 1989, he has served as one of the editors of the Journal of Law and Religion.
In 2003, Vogel received the highest award given by the Hamline University Board of Trustees, the John Wesley Trustee Award for Faculty, for outstanding commitment to leadership and service.
Vogel has taught in Budapest, Hungary, as a member of the faculty of the Hamline University School of Law Dispute Resolution Institute Summer Program (2005), in Jerusalem, Israel, as a member of the faculty of the Hamline-Hebrew University Summer Program in Law, Religion & Ethics (1994 & 1995), as Visiting Professor in the Doctor of Ministry Summer Program at Emory University Theological Seminary (1986), and as Visiting Professor in the Political Science Department of the University of Minnesota (1989-90 & 1996-97). He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Minnesota, and his Master of Arts in Religious Studies from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus by United Theological Seminary in 2009.