Success without Victory: Lost Legal Battles and the Long Road to Justice in America

Success without Victory: Lost Legal Battles and the Long Road to Justice in America

Success without Victory: Lost Legal Battles and the Long Road to Justice in America

Success without Victory: Lost Legal Battles and the Long Road to Justice in America


"This eloquent and moving memoir raises profound questions about law, justice, tradition, and community; the path to constructive social change; and not least, how to live a decent life. It is an inspiring story, with many valuable lessons to ponder."- Noam Chomsky "Success Without Victoryis thoughtful and provocative, and I highly recommend it. It is highly readable, includes fascinating stories centered on powerful personalities and the sustained reflection on unilateral presidential war-making powers is timely." - Law and Politics Book Review

"A vivid illustration. The book makes a valuable contribution to our evolving understanding of the work of cause lawyering and the significance of test case litigation. It stands as a beacon of hope in an era dominated by pessimism about the capacity of law and lawyers to contribute to progressive social change." - American Historical Review

"An intriguing cultural analysis." - Bookwatch

"For the author in this compelling book, success and failure are not determined by the immediate outcome of a given case; a lawsuit can be deemed successful if it arises from and gives expression to a valid principle and if it promotes culture of rights." - Publishers Weekly

"Excellent. His work is prophetic and should inspire a new generation to choose law as an alternative to war." - Federal Lawyer

"Remarkable. Jules Lobel takes his rightful place alongside the line of lawyers opting for the difficult path of bringing contentious issues into the public forum." - New York Law Journal

"Lobel provides a lively account of several important but relatively unknown cases. The stories are fascinating and will engage litigators who love the details of brief-writing, the tension of last-minute deadlines, the strategies for oral argument, and the drama of judicial decision-making." - Trial

Winners and losers. Success and failure. Victory and defeat. American culture places an extremely high premium on success, and firmly equates it with winning. In politics, sports, business, and the courtroom, we have a passion to win and are terrified of losing. Instead of viewing success and failure through such a rigid lens, Jules Lobel suggests that we move past the winner-take-all model and learn valuable lessons from legal and political activists who have advocated causes destined to lose in court but have had important, progressive long term effects on American society. He leads us through dramatic battles in American legal history, describing attempts by abolitionist lawyers to free fugitive slaves through the courts, Susan B. Anthony's trial for voting illegally, the post-Civil War challenges to segregation that resulted in the courts' affirmation of the separate but equal doctrine in Plessy v. Ferguson, and Lobel's own challenges to United States foreign policy during the 1980s and 1990s. Success Without Victoryexplores the political, social, and psychological contexts behind the cases themselves, as well as the eras from which they originated and the eras they subsequently influenced.

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