This chapter explores the role of the ethic of risk in progressive lawyering. Drawing on Sharon Welch's feminist ethic of risk, it considers the practice of public interest law as it relates to a dual commitment to social justice and the necessity of getting one's hands dirty. Lawyers and clients work together within an internally consistent and morally informed ethic of risk, which involves tactical and informed risk-taking. They engage in principled acts of resistance when, where, and how they can, and articulate a critique of the systems in which they work and a theory of justice. This chapter examines how a systematic and integrated ethic guides the work of lawyers and clients toward social justice. It also discusses lawyer and client attitudes toward social change, autonomy, collaboration, and lawyer–client relationships.
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