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