Divorce Lawyers at Work: Varieties of Professionalism in Practice

Divorce Lawyers at Work: Varieties of Professionalism in Practice

Divorce Lawyers at Work: Varieties of Professionalism in Practice

Divorce Lawyers at Work: Varieties of Professionalism in Practice

Synopsis

How do lawyers think about and make the important decisions that constitute the day-to-day practice of law? This book explores that question through an extensive empirical study of lawyers practicing divorce law in New England. The authors emphasize the importance of "collegial control" in shaping lawyers' decisions and identify a variety of "communities of practice" that serve as key agents of that control. Offering a new understanding of the nature of lawyers' work in divorce law as well as a new perspective on legal professionalism, this book is required reading for scholars, students, and practitioners.

Excerpt

This book explores how lawyers understand and arrive at many of the decisions that they make in their daily work lives. For lawyers, these decisions ultimately constitute the heart of professionalism in practice, and they vary significantly among attorneys. The importance and the variability of these practice decisions raise important questions about what “professionalism” means and about how professional work is guided or controlled to ensure quality and accountability. Our account, drawn from a detailed study of divorce attorneys in two states, pursues these crucial questions for boththeory and practice.

Our book was written withtwo primary audiences in mind. First, we wish to contribute to the efforts of social scientists who study work and the professions in general, and the legal profession in particular, to better understand the complex forces that shape discretionary choices in work. Second, we hope that leaders and members of the bar who are concerned about issues of professionalism will find in this book a fresh way of thinking about how to strengthen the norms that guide lawyers' behavior and the challenges in doing so. We also believe our book will prove useful to law students who are studying professional responsibility, legal ethics, and family law and trying to prepare for the challenges of everyday practice, as . . .

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