The Organization of Public Interest Practice: 1975-2004

32 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2010

See all articles by Laura Beth Nielsen

Laura Beth Nielsen

American Bar Foundation; Northwestern University - Department of Sociology

Catherine Albiston

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Date Written: June 1, 2006

Abstract

How have public interest law firms changed during the thirty years addressed by this empirical study? How are they financed, what is the nature of the work they perform, what causes do they represent, and what personnel do they employ? We find notable shifts in the organizational structure and practice of these firms over these three decades. The major transformations we observe are: (1) growth in average organizational size, (2) organizational rationalization similar to that observed in private sector law firms and law departments, (3) a shift from single issue and single (legal) function to multiple issue and multiple service/function, (4) more reliance on government support and restrictions on firms that choose to accept government funds.

Keywords: public interest law, legal profession, historical change

Suggested Citation

Nielsen, Laura Beth and Albiston, Catherine, The Organization of Public Interest Practice: 1975-2004 (June 1, 2006). North Carolina Law Review, Vol. 84, No. 5, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1708266

Laura Beth Nielsen (Contact Author)

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-988-6574 (Phone)
312-988-6579 (Fax)

Northwestern University - Department of Sociology ( email )

1810 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Catherine Albiston

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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