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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

Both scholarly and political concern has focused in recent years on the interaction between lawyers and clients in public interest practice. Critics claim that public interest lawyers dominate their clients and subordinate their interests to advance their own social and political agendas. In assessing the validity of these claims, we rarely have access to detailed accounts of public interest litigation from both the client's and the lawyer's perspectives. Professor McMunigal relies on two recent accounts of the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade, one from the client's perspective and one from the lawyer's, to examine the dynamics of lawyer-client interaction, lawyer attitudes toward client autonomy and interests, and the effect of these attitudes on the client. He concludes that both accounts support the claims of domination and subordination of clients made by critics of public interest lawyers and argues that current legal ethics rules underestimate and inadequately respond to the forces that may drive a public interest lawyer to dominate a client and subordinate the client's interests.

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