This chapter examines the value of client autonomy in progressive lawyering. It first considers the rationale underpinning autonomy as an ideal, along with the prevailing view of autonomy and how client perspectives suggest the need to revise it. It then discusses autonomy as it relates to the service-oriented retainer model that poor clients believe are enjoyed by their wealthy counterparts, as well as how autonomy creates tensions in lawyer–client relationships. It also explores lawyers' concerns as they flow from situated practice with clients, and how client experiences and their expectations of lawyers and the lawyer–client relationship challenge traditional conceptions of autonomy in public interest lawyering. Finally, it proposes a new definition of autonomy that not only takes into account not only the legal issue at hand and the lawyer–client relationship, but also situates legal representation within the lives of clients.
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