Legal Services for the Poor: A Comparative and Contemporary Analysis of Interorganizational Politics

Legal Services for the Poor: A Comparative and Contemporary Analysis of Interorganizational Politics

Legal Services for the Poor: A Comparative and Contemporary Analysis of Interorganizational Politics

Legal Services for the Poor: A Comparative and Contemporary Analysis of Interorganizational Politics

Synopsis

Introduction Toward a Theory of Legal Activity The Operating Environment of Legal Services Programs Suburban Legal Services: Constraints on Poverty Lawyers Metro City Legal Services: Freedom to Pursue Law Reform The Lawyers The Organizational Context The Intergovernmental Politics of Legal Activity Legal Services and Equal Justice Appendix A: Methodology Appendix B: Research Instruments

Excerpt

The case studies presented in Chapters 4 and 5 suggest that personal attributes of poverty lawyers have different effects on legal activity in two diverse programs. in the Suburban program, policies and the local environment constrained lawyers wishing to do law reform. in contrast, Metro City attorneys were free to engage in activity they preferred. This chapter broadens the scope of the analysis by comparing attributes of attorneys in five programs and offering a personal portrait of all legal services lawyers participating in the study. the comparative analysis seeks to uncover staff attributes that influence legal activity across the five programs and assist in explaining variation in mixes of law reform and service.

The following section begins the analysis by assessing the motivations of attorneys for accepting positions in poverty law programs. Subsequent sections examine lawyers' backgrounds, career ambitions, political identifications, ideologies, and attitudes.

Motivations for legal services work

Most attorneys in each of the five programs sought a legal services job because of their commitment to aid the poor. It is striking that out of 75 attorneys in the sample, only 14 (18 percent) accepted positions for other reasons, including opportunities for gaining legal experience, working in an informal environment, the program's location, and lack of other offers. But even though most lawyers . . .

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