Hastings Law Journal


Professor Tremblay's Essay addresses "rebellious" lawyering, that strain of lawyering which empowers clients. His Essay seeks to explore some of the institutional and ethical barriers that prevent easy implementation of this powerful and attractive view of lawyering. He describes two strands within rebellious lawyering literature: the "collectivist" theme, which argues that effective lawyering for the poor must include collective, organizing efforts that look beyond intrasystemic relief; and the "client voice" theme, which encourages collaborative, nonhierarchical participation by clients in their legal casework. While these two themes are present in much of the literature, he believes that in some ways they may conflict.

Professor Tremblay argues that rebellious lawyering is at base future-oriented, and as such requires sacrifice of short-term, and perhaps illusory, conventional gains in return for long-term, and likely much more meaningful, benefits for disempowered people. If that observation is correct, lawyers must confront the ethical and justice-based difficulty of foregoing present goods for future reward. In exploring this tension he looks to biomedical ethical scholarship, which has spent much time evaluating the "rescue mission," and how it interferes with preventive measures that might be more just and efficient.

The Essay concludes by noting the problems inherent in seeking institutional macroallocation policies within the legal services community favoring the rebellious view. It also notes the tension between the "client voice" emphasis and the sacrificing model of the collectivist theme.

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