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When New Governance Fails

Douglas NeJaime

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

July 30, 2009

Ohio State Law Journal, Vol. 70, No. 2, 2009
Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2009-27

New Governance scholars have responded to critiques of rights-based, state-centered, top-down strategies by turning toward flexible, collaborative public-private partnerships and by locating lawyers as problem solvers rather than as traditional advocates. Intervening in a variety of substantive fields, these scholars often position New Governance as an ambitious project that seeks to usher in a new paradigm of public problem solving. This Article pulls back on the enthusiastic embrace of New Governance, instead situating it as a contingent model of cause lawyering that complements, rather than replaces, previous advocacy models, including rights-claiming litigation. To do so, this Article draws out professional and representational objections to New Governance. First, New Governance scholars often neglect cause lawyers, treat lawyers like other institutional actors, or priovide insufficiently concrete lawyer roles. Accordingly, lawyers might resist New Governance practice based on their professional identities. Next, the process-oriented focus of New Governance theory poses representational issues for lawyers working on behalf of marginalized constituents. New Governance process might merely reinscribe existing power dynamics and render challenges to outcomes more difficult. As a counterbalance to the overabundance of success stories in the New Governance literature, this Article locates these professional and representational objections in accounts of New Governance failure drawn from the identity-based domains of sexual orientation, gender, and religion. These stories of New Governance failure reveal challenges facing New Governance theory and begin to expose conditions conducive to New Governance practice. At the same time, they suggest the continued relevance of rights-claiming, court-centered strategies.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 78

Keywords: New Governance, cause lawyering, associative democracy, democratic experimentalism, legal pragmatism, network governance, collaborative governance, negotiated governance, sexuality, sexual orientation, gender, religion

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Date posted: July 31, 2009 ; Last revised: August 11, 2009

Suggested Citation

NeJaime, Douglas, When New Governance Fails (July 30, 2009). Ohio State Law Journal, Vol. 70, No. 2, 2009; Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2009-27. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1441396

Contact Information

Douglas NeJaime (Contact Author)
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )
385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
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