This week’s featured resource is Power with: Practice Models for Social Justice Lawyering" from the Penn Law: Scholarship repository. This resource was part of the advanced reading list for the “Legal Empowerment, Organizing, and Social Movements” session in the recent Legal Empowerment Leadership Course at Central European University in Budapest in December. It sheds light on how public interest lawyers need to incorporate community organizing in order to holistically represent marginalized communities in legal struggles and empower these communities to assert their own power.
Public interest lawyers seeking justice for marginalized groups cannot succeed by working alone. Meaningful social change occurs when marginalized and dispersed peoples unite and organize to take power into their own hands. Such groups benefit greatly by forming relationships with lawyers and including them in their organizing processes. However, existing attorney-client models are inadequate to structure such relationships between lawyers and people in the process of organizing.
The purpose of this paper is to provide concrete models of practice for lawyers who work with marginalized groups in the process of organizing for power.
Traditional paradigms of group representation are designed either for fully-formed, established, and hierarchized groups (e.g., corporate representation) or for constituencies who remain atomized and relatively passive throughout representation (e.g., impact litigation and class actions). The inadequacy of existing models hinders public interest lawyers’ imaginations and makes it difficult for them to structure efficacious, accountable relationships with the groups with whom they work. This paper addresses that inadequacy by defining and illustrating five concrete models of practice for lawyers representing groups in the process of organizing for power and social change.
You can access this resource in our library at the following link:
As always, please let us know your thoughts on this resource or if you have any questions for the authors by commenting below.
The Featured Resource is a short profile of a key resource found in the resource library of the Global Legal Empowerment Network. These resources can be older or brand new, but they all touch on important themes within legal empowerment. If you have a resource you would like to profile with the network, upload it directly at this link or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.