The book features significant and timely contributions which take contemporary and non-mainstream perspectives on the current and future shape of the legal profession. The essays not only describe the rapidly changing profession but canvas different approaches to scholarship on the legal profession. The collection seeks to explore a diverse and contextualised profession from a number of angles. Authors examine how the public sees lawyers and how lawyers see their own profession; how we practise law and how this practice shapes lawyers; how such cultural and professional practice intersects with institutional structures of the law to create certain legal outcomes; and how we regulate the legal profession to modify or institute ethical practice.
The volume provides insights into legal culture and ethics from the perspective of authors from Australia, Canada, England, the United States, New Zealand and Kenya – a diversity of national perspectives that give valuable insights into developments in the profession at the local and global level. It also illustrates diversity within the profession by tracing differing professional career trajectories based on raced or gendered barriers, alternative ethical strategies and the impact of organisational cultures in which lawyers practice.
Clifford Winston, Robert Crandall, and Vikram Maheshri argue that these increased costs cannot be economically justified. They create significant social costs, hamper innovation, misallocate the nation's labor resources, and create socially perverse incentives. In the end, attorneys support inefficient policies that preserve and enhance their own wealth, to the detriment of the general population.
To fix this situation, the authors propose a novel solution: deregulation of the legal profession. Lowering the barriers to entry will force lawyers to compete more intensely with each other and to face competition from nonlawyers and firms that are not owned and managed by lawyers. The book provides a much-needed analysis of why legal costs are so high and how they can be reduced without sacrificing the quality of legal services.
The empirical landscape of this book is the contentious political and legal battle over California welfare reform in the early 1970s. Within the context of American pluralism and constitutionalism, and from an analytical perspective, this study examines the professional and institutional character of group legal representation for the poor as a strategy for political empowerment and social change. While grounded in political and legal history, the study’s conceptual approaches primarily draw on ideas from political science and theory about political representation, and from writings in legal ethics and legal education on professional role responsibilities in the legal representation of people and the groups they are a part of.
These principal thematic points emerge, and are supported by prodigious empirical research, experience, and theory: (1) Social cause lawyering is a systemic necessity for the democratic and equitable functioning of our governing institutions; (2) the client constraints on the role of lawyers for groups or causes have more to do conceptually with understandings about the nature of representation than the applicability of ethical or procedural rules; and (3) the political consequences of such legal advocacy are variable and potentially contradictory. Exploring these dilemmas through the story of anti-poverty representation and reform, the author provides a meaningful context to consider the legal representation of the poor beyond mere lawsuits, legal doctrine, and the ubiquitous popular image of the "welfare queen."
The book also features an extended, fascinating, and telling interview with then-Governor Reagan about his plans for welfare reform and the roadblocks and stories he encountered along the way. This new book develops the research and theory first documented in the author's much-cited but formally unpublished Berkeley doctoral dissertation, entitled "Legal Advocacy and Welfare Reform: Continuity and Change in Public Relief" (1975), which is now finally readily available worldwide--in this extensive revision and fresh look at the seismic changes to welfare systems and conceptions of poverty that began in the 1970s.
“In this dramatic and detailed account, Robert Sauté documents the establishment and evolution of the public interest bar, particularly its struggles to provide zealous advocacy for its clients. Through meticulous historical research in case studies of the New York Legal Aid Society, NAACP, ACLU, and Legal Services Corporation, Sauté’s book analyzes how access to the legal system has been affected by cultural and structural changes in society and in American politics. His chapter on pro bono in large firms reveals how a new generation of elite lawyers defines its commitment to professionalism and the poor.”
— Cynthia Fuchs Epstein
Graduate Center, CUNY
Author, Women in Law
“Rob Sauté’s For the Poor and Disenfranchised is a subtle and fascinating history of the development of public interest and poverty law in the United States, analyzing how the legal profession has responded to the needs of the poor and disenfranchised over time. Although there have been many advances in the ways those needs are met, Sauté closely examines the influence of the market, social movements and other factors and suggests that those responses have been inadequate, particularly in light of a legal system moving increasingly to the right.”
— Mark Potok
Southern Poverty Law Center
A new addition to the Dissertation Series by Quid Pro Books.
“Lawyers at Work is a masterful collection, by one of the leading and award winning empirical researchers on legal institutions and the legal profession today, on the ‘black box’ of law practice. Spanning decades of research, Professor Kritzer presents data and findings on how lawyers bill, develop relationships with clients and opponents, manage scientific expertise, negotiate, and conduct their everyday work in a wide variety of case types. He explores and exposes the differences in both theories and data about the legal profession from virtually every major study there is on what lawyers actually do. If anyone wants to know about the real practices of lawyers in the past and present, and with important projections about the future, this is a must read. We can speculate about what lawyers really do, but Kritzer has the actual ‘facts.’”
— Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science, University of California, Irvine, and A.B. Chettle Professor of Law, Dispute Resolution and Civil Procedure, Georgetown University Law Center
“Through wide-ranging field research over 35 years Kritzer has done more than anyone to document the craft of lawyers at work. This extraordinary compilation finds the whole in a professional lifetime of research, cementing Kritzer’s reputation as pioneer and master of empirical legal research.”
— Tom Baker, William Maul Measey Professor of Law and Health Sciences, University of Pennsylvania Law School
“Bert Kritzer has long been recognized as one of the most astute scholarly commentators on the U.S. legal profession. This collection of papers allows readers to see his body of work as a whole, and to appreciate the unique combination of quantitative and qualitative skills on which it rests. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to cut through the myths that pervade debates about policy and practice in civil justice.”
— Robert Dingwall, Nottingham Trent University, UK