Judgment-Based Lawyering: Working in Coalition
27 J. Affordable Housing 549 (2019)
51 Pages Posted: 6 May 2019
Date Written: April 29, 2019
When representing grassroots coalitions and groups in policy matters on a pro bono basis, lawyers need to be highly self-reflective and self-disciplined in their client group interactions and how they carry out their professional responsibilities. Much rests on their abilities to develop and utilize certain inner dispositions, habits, or mindsets that enhance both their character as a lawyer and how they acquire and apply knowledge. This article emphasizes three attributes that are crucial to good lawyering. They are accessibility, responsiveness, and judgment. To provide substantive grounding for what these concepts mean in practice, I describe at some length work done since 2007 by students and faculty in the Community Economic Development (CED) Clinic at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. This work was done in close collaboration with a coalition of neighborhood groups, affordable housing organizations, and progressive labor unions. The initial collective objective, successfully achieved, was to influence the plans for and community benefits from a $2.2 billion development project in San Francisco. The developer was California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), which has multiple San Francisco hospital sites. CPMC’s original plans included building a new hospital campus adjacent to the Tenderloin, a diverse low-income neighborhood in the center of San Francisco, and closing St. Luke’s Hospital, a relatively recently acquired campus located in the low-income but gentrifying Mission District.
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