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Negotiating Justice: Progressive Lawyering, Low-Income Clients, and the Quest for Social Change

Overview

While many young people become lawyers for the big bucks, others are motivated by the pursuit of social justice, seeking to help people for whom legal services are financially, socially, or politically inaccessible. These progressive lawyers often bring a considerable degree of idealism to their work, and many leave the field due to insurmountable red tape and spiraling disillusionment. But what about those who stay? And what do their clients think? Negotiating Justice explores how progressive lawyers and their ...

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Negotiating Justice: Progressive Lawyering, Low-Income Clients, and the Quest for Social Change

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Overview

While many young people become lawyers for the big bucks, others are motivated by the pursuit of social justice, seeking to help people for whom legal services are financially, socially, or politically inaccessible. These progressive lawyers often bring a considerable degree of idealism to their work, and many leave the field due to insurmountable red tape and spiraling disillusionment. But what about those who stay? And what do their clients think? Negotiating Justice explores how progressive lawyers and their clients negotiate the dissonance between personal idealism and the realities of a system that doesn’t often champion the rights of the poor.

Corey S. Shdaimah draws on over fifty interviews with urban legal service lawyers and their clients to provide readers with a compelling behind-the-scenes look at how different notions of practice can present significant barriers for both clients and lawyers working with limited resources, often within a legal system that many view as fundamentally unequal or hostile. Through consideration of the central themes of progressive lawyering—autonomy, collaboration, transformation, and social change—Shdaimah presents a subtle and complex tableau of the concessions both lawyers and clients often have to make as they navigate the murky and resistant terrains of the legal system and their wider pursuits of justice and power.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Shdaimah has produced a subtle and complex picture of legal services lawyers and their clients. While fully attentive to questions of inequality and power, she charts the ways clients maintain autonomy and dignity as well as the ways their lawyers navigate systems of which they are highly critical. This is an enormously valuable contribution to scholarship on the legal profession and on progressive lawyering. Throughout it is both rigorous and deeply humane."
-—Austin Sarat,co-author of Cause Lawyers and Social Movements

“This volume is an excellent addition to the law and society literature addressing themes of cause lawyering and consciousness. Through over 50 interviews with urban service lawyers and clients, Shdaimah thoughtfully draws out the ways that the relationships between lawyers and clients address values of social justice, autonomy, collaboration, and understanding... Highly recommended.”-Choice,

“Negotiating Justice is a compelling glimpse into a world that most lawyers never visit.” -California Lawyer,

"Negotiating Justice is one of those exceedingly rare books that examine how lawyers and clients collaborate to produce legality. These stories will be an inspiration to law students aspiring to work in the public interest and an affirmation for the thousands of lawyers who do so daily."

-—Richard Abel,author of English Lawyers between Market and State: The Politics of Professionalism

“The book, as a whole, will be a terrific resource for students who would like to leaven their academic scholarship with insights gained from observations, surveys and interviews at a real legal clinic.”
-City Limits Weekly

,

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814708699
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 4/22/2011
  • Pages: 239
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Corey S. Shdaimah is Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Preface: The Masters Tools ix

1 Clients and Lawyers 1

2 Why Talk to Clients and Lawyers? A Grounded Interpretivist Framework 17

3 Working for Social Justice in an Unjust System 35

4 Did Someone Say Autonomy? 67

5 Collaboration 99

6 Lawyer and Client: Face to Face 131

7 Progressive Lawyering and the Ethic of Risk 163

Appendixes 175

Notes 199

References 211

Index 221

About the Author 225

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