Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants

32 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2008

See all articles by Margo Schlanger

Margo Schlanger

University of Michigan Law School


This essay, for an issue of Law & Contemporary Problems in honor of the work and influence of Marc Galanter, looks at a small case-type, jail strip-search litigation, and at its participants, to analyze its internal dynamics and what they have to teach us about the relation between litigation and society. Among the unusual features of these cases is that many different kinds of lawyers work on them - employees of public interest organizations; large law firm lawyers, often working pro bono, with a cooperating relationship with such a public interest organization; lawyers with a private prisoners' rights or police misconduct practice; and lawyers with a more varied or general class-action practice. The differences in lawyer type do not, however, demonstrably correspond to differences among case outcomes. However, interviews did surface some marked variation, by lawyer type, in the lawyers' orientations towards their own fees, the threat of adverse legal change, and the appropriate response to such a threat.

Keywords: jail, civil rights, litigation, lawyers

JEL Classification: K41, K42

Suggested Citation

Schlanger, Margo, Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants. Law and Contemporary Problems, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1100278

Margo Schlanger (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

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