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

By Mark Kessler | Go to book overview

reform suits and one who has not, illustrate the crucial influence of Suburban County's conservative political climate and power structure on legal representation.

In this program there are not enough people taking aggressive stands. I think people are intimidated by the tremendous political clout that is wielded by the Republican Party in this county and they cowtow to that. They are in mortal fear of that power.

In taking a class action suit or a suit against the county, I'm afraid quite frankly of what the repercussions may be down the line. It may have some damage on my career, for example. I could think of all kinds of things.

The salience of Suburban Legal Services' environment is shown further by the remarks of one member of the program's governing board. When asked to speculate on the consequences for the program of engaging in activities similar to the more reform-oriented program in neighboring Metro City, he responded:

Oh! They would have been bombed out. Well, the water would have been cut off. They wouldn't get electricity. They would have immediately had no more county funding. The bar association would probably claim that all the lawyers never passed the bar and were not certified to practice before any court of law. They would go berserk if they had Metro City Legal Services up here. . . . If legal aid in Suburban County were anything like that, half, 25% like that, ah, their lease would have been cancelled. They would have found some clause to cancel the lease. And then when they sued over the lease, the judge over in the courthouse would say, "Nope. Looks like a valid reason to me. Out."


NOTES
1.
In Suburban County, three commissioners are elected. Only two may be of the same political party. So, for many years, the Suburban County commission has been composed of two Republicans and one Democrat.
2.
The precise ways in which characteristics of lawyers and programs were measured are discussed in Chapters 6-8.

-62-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figure and Tables ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • Notes 12
  • 2 - Toward a Theory of Legal Activity 17
  • Notes 29
  • 3 - The Operating Environment of Legal Services Programs 33
  • Notes 43
  • 4 - Suburban Legal Services: Constraints on Poverty Lawyers 45
  • Notes 62
  • 5 - Metro City Legal Services: Freedom to Pursue Law Reform 63
  • Notes 85
  • 6 - The Lawyers 87
  • Notes 104
  • 7 - The Organizational Context 107
  • Notes 122
  • 8 - The Interorganizational Politics of Legal Activity 125
  • Notes 138
  • 9 - Legal Services and Equal Justice 141
  • Notes 149
  • Appendix a Methodology 151
  • Notes 157
  • Appendix B Research Instruments 159
  • Bibliography 171
  • Index 179
  • About the Author 185
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