A Grounded Interpretivist Framework
This chapter describes the theoretical framework and methods used in interviews with clients and lawyers to study progressive lawyering. It begins by comparing two strains of literature on legal services lawyers: the first takes an explicitly normative stance regarding what outcomes, relationships, or processes are “good,” and the second, which has its roots in the social sciences, focuses on legal practice without explicit reference to values or ideals. Drawing on literature from a wide range of disciplines and empirically grounded in the subjective experiences of both lawyers and clients, this chapter examines salient features of lawyer–client relationships. In particular, it looks at lawyers who profess a desire to work for social justice. It also considers situated practice as an explicit goal of research, law and society studies in relation to legal realism, ideas of power and social justice, and the critical theorizing of lawyers and other professionals interested in working toward social justice. Finally, it describes the work of Northeast Legal Services (NELS) as a legal services practice engaged in critical lawyering.
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