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Fortress in the Sand: The Plural Values of Client-Centered Representation

Clinical Law Review, Vol. 12, pp. 501-572, Spring 2006

NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 05/06-19

73 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2006  

Katherine R. Kruse

Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Abstract

This article examines the history, development and theory of the client-centered approach to lawyering, which has become the most prevalent theory of lawyering taught in law school clinics. It examines the basic tenets of client-centered representation as a problem-solving approach and shows how critique and modification of the approach has spawned a diversity of lawyering models that share the basic tenets of client-centered representation but are in tension with its preferred methodology of lawyer neutrality. The article draws on theories of autonomy to help explain this tension, showing that notions of positive freedom support a range of autonomy-enhancing intervention into the decision making of others. It then proposes that client-centered representation be understood as encompassing a plurality of approaches consistent with these autonomy-enhancing interventions, and that understanding client-centered representation in this way can help to guide the exercise of a client-centered lawyer's contextualized professional judgment. It proposes a taxonomy of five approaches - holistic representation, narrative integrity, client empowerment, partisan advocacy and client-directed lawyering - and shows how these plural approaches can be used as analytical tools to aid lawyers in deciding when or how forcefully to intervene in client decision making.

Keywords: client-centered, legal ethics, lawyering theory, client autonomy

Suggested Citation

Kruse, Katherine R., Fortress in the Sand: The Plural Values of Client-Centered Representation. Clinical Law Review, Vol. 12, pp. 501-572, Spring 2006; NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 05/06-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=886730

Kate Kruse (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
United States

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