Studying Divorce Lawyers at Work
This examination of lawyer professionalism emerged out of a study of the day-to-day work of divorce attorneys in Maine and New Hampshire. In our proposal to the National Science Foundation for funding to support this research, we focused attention on “the range and causes of variation in the way lawyers carry out their work.” We sought to explore the possibility that different legal procedures for divorce—for example, mandatory mediation in Maine and infrequent private mediation in New Hampshire—might affect divorce lawyering, as might differences in characteristics of individual attorneys, their firm organizations, their clienteles, and local legal cultures. Our book examines these core issues but employs an analytic framework of “professionalism” that emerged from the study.
Because of their accessibility and relative comparability, we chose to do our research in Maine and New Hampshire, contiguous, semirural New England states with similar 1990 populations of 1.2 and 1.1 million, respectively. Both states have small urban areas, and significant pockets