Lawyers for Conservative Causes: Clients, Ideology and Social Distance

Law & Society Review, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 5-50, March 2003

Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 09-21

47 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2009 Last revised: 18 Nov 2009

See all articles by John P. Heinz

John P. Heinz

American Bar Foundation; Northwestern University - Institute for Policy Research

Anthony Paik

University of Iowa, Department of Sociology

Ann Southworth

University of California, Irvine School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 4, 2009

Abstract

Scholars have devoted attention to "cause lawyers" on the political left, but lawyers who work on the conservative side of the American political spectrum have received relatively little academic consideration. This article presents systematic data on the characteristics of and relationships among lawyers affiliated with organizations active on a selected set of 17 conservative issues. We find that the lawyers serve several separate and distinct constituencies-business conservatives, Christian conservatives, libertarians, abortion opponents-and that the credentials of the lawyers serving these varying constituencies differ significantly. The greatest degree of social separation occurs between the business constituency and the abortion opponents, with another clear separation between libertarians and the interest groups devoted to traditional family values and order maintenance. The divisions among these constituencies appear to reflect the difference between "insider politics" and "populism," which is manifested in part in actual geographic separation between lawyers located in the District of Columbia and those in the South, West, and Midwest. In the center of the network, however, we find some potential "mediators"-prominent lawyers who may facilitate communication and coordination among the several constituencies. These lawyers and the organizations they serve attempt to merge morality, market freedom, and individual liberty concerns, and they convene meetings of diverse sets of lawyers and organizational leaders to seek consensus on policy goals. Nonetheless, the findings indicate that most organizations are seldom active on issues that lie beyond the relatively narrow boundaries of their own interests.

Keywords: cause lawyers, business conservatives, Christian conservatives, libertarians, lawyer networks, lawyer interest groups

JEL Classification: K19, K30

Suggested Citation

Heinz, John P. and Paik, Anthony and Southworth, Ann, Lawyers for Conservative Causes: Clients, Ideology and Social Distance (November 4, 2009). Law & Society Review, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 5-50, March 2003, Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 09-21, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1500020

John P. Heinz (Contact Author)

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Northwestern University - Institute for Policy Research ( email )

2003 Sheridan Rd
Evanston, IL 60208-2600
United States
312-503-8473 (Phone)

Anthony Paik

University of Iowa, Department of Sociology ( email )

140 Seashore Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242-1401
United States

Ann Southworth

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

Do you want regular updates from SSRN on Twitter?

Paper statistics

Downloads
72
Abstract Views
801
rank
355,168
PlumX Metrics