Lawyers and Neighborhood Legal Services: Social Background and the Impetus for Reform
12 Law & Society Review 253 (1978)
23 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2014
Date Written: September 24, 2014
Many commentators have explained the shift in policy from the quietude of Legal Aid to the aggressive advocacy of Legal Services by pointing to a change in personnel. This paper presents data on the background of a national sample of Legal Services lawyers in 1967, and through a variety of analyses argues that, though Legal Services differed from Legal Aid, neither the organization as a whole, its reformist elements, nor its local administrators were dominated by a "new breed" of activist lawyer with elite credentials.Instead, Legal Services in both 1967 and 1972 was characterized by a remarkable heterogeneity of staff. Implications of these findings for the delivery of lawyers' services to the poor are discussed, and it is suggested that the "radical" character of the program is due more to the opportunities Legal Services has offered lawyers to pursue client interests than to background characteristics of personnel.
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