The Democratic Roots of Collaborative Lawyering
Clinical Law Review, Vol. 12, p. 541, 2006
74 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2007
This Article reinterprets collaborative lawyering - and its call for progressive lawyers to collaborate with clients and communities to jointly pursue social change - as part of a participatory democratic tradition of active self-government by engaged citizens. Rejecting conventional views that collaborative lawyering primarily grows out of postmodernist social theory, the Article details this lawyering approach's deep affinity with John Dewey's modern recasting of Athenian and Jeffersonian ideas and with the early 1960s' practice of Ella Baker, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and New Left activists. It argues that a democratic lens reveals the distinctive values underlying collaborative lawyers' commitment to ordinary citizens' robust participation in collective efforts to reshape society - values that are at odds with competing visions of democracy and lawyering that place expert professionals at the center of such efforts.
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