Lawyers and Social Workers Working Together: Ethic of Care and Feminist Legal Practice in Community Law
T Walsh, 'Lawyers and Social Workers Working Together: Ethic of Care and Feminist Legal Practice in Community Law' (2012) 21 (3) Griffith Law Review 752-771
21 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2014
Date Written: 2012
In Australia, experimentation with, and literature on, interdisciplinary teams comprising lawyers and social workers has remained limited. This is despite the fact that many legal organisations employ social workers to support their practice. In many community legal settings, social workers work alongside lawyers in the delivery of socio-legal services. This article explores the nature and effectiveness of working relationships between lawyers and social workers in community legal centres in Brisbane, Australia. It draws on data obtained from interviews and focus groups with thirteen lawyers and eleven social workers working in community law settings. The group discussions focused on the strengths and weaknesses of collaborative models, and the features of successful lawyer–social worker partnerships. It is concluded that a commitment to feminist legal practice may be associated with positive working relationships, which hopefully will translate into successful outcomes for clients.
Keywords: Lawyer-social worker partnerships, feminist legal practice, community law
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