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

By Mark Kessler | Go to book overview

clients. RegRLS hires lawyers with varying perspectives who learn skills possessed by established lawyers in the office to which they are assigned.


NOTES
1.
See, for example, Herbert Simon, Administrative Behavior, 3rd ed. ( New York: The Free Press, 1976).
2.
One lawyer in Suburban Legal Services specializes in prison law.
3.
In one of its offices, one lawyer specializes in welfare law and only handles cases with welfare issues. The other lawyer in this office specializes in bankruptcy, but handles a small number of family law cases. In a second office, lawyers are less specialized, with each one handling cases in two or three areas. One lawyer in this office, however, only handles the cases of prison inmates.
4.
All lawyers were asked to indicate the number of active cases they were handling requiring at least one future action. The highest number of cases, averaging over 100 per lawyer, were handled by attorneys in SLS and RLS. A majority of lawyers in IRLS and RegRLS handled over 80 cases each. Caseloads in these programs are designated as "high," although a few lawyers in both programs handle a smaller number of cases. "Moderate" caseloads are those that average between 40 and 80 cases. "Low" or light caseloads are those that average below 40.
5.
According to Robert K. Merton, goal displacement occurs when "adherence to the rules, originally conceived as a means, becomes transformed into an end-in-itself." See Robert K. Merton, "Bureaucratic Structure and Personality," in Robert K. Merton, Ailsa P. Gray, Barbara Hockey, and Hanan C. Selvin, eds., Reader in Bureaucracy ( New York: The Free Press, 1952), pp. 361-371. For a discussion of goal displacement in other organizations, see Michael Lipsky, Street Level Bureaucracy ( New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1980), chapter 4. Also, Susan S. Silbey found a very similar phenomenon in her study of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection. See Susan S. Silbey, "Case Processing: Consumer Protection in an Attorney General's Office," Law and Society Review 15 ( 1980- 1981): pp. 849-910.
6.
Suburban Legal Services did hire one lawyer, the prison law specialist, with a social reform orientation. He was hired specifically to work with inmates with a clear expectation that reform cases might result. This lawyer explained his hiring in the following comments:

I think they hired me so that when people like you came around, they could say, "Sure, we do law reform. Go down the hall and talk to ___." I feel like I'm almost a token here.

-122-

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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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