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Clin. L. Rev.


In this article the author argues that the aims, contexts, and methods of client activism are paramount in progressive lawyering theory, and as such precede and define the question of how progressives should lawyer. The author suggests precursory paradigms that 1) clarify the ultimate political goals to which activism is and should be directed; 2) analyze the social conditions shaping and defining grassroots activity; and 3) specify and systematize the myriad methods that can and should be used to further these ends. In critiquing prevailing theoretical formulations that relate to these considerations, the author argues that progressive lawyers need to go beyond law, lawyering, community organizing, mobilization and social movement-building and develop a framework for more finely analyzing political aims, contexts, and activist methods.

Part I summarizes the various, at time conflicting, lawyering approaches to fostering activism. Part II traces the evolution of these approaches since "people's" and "poverty" lawyers began addressing the question in the 1960s. Part III critiques the theoretical limitations identified and moves to situate the development of progressive lawyering theory in historical context and move it in a broader, interdisciplinary direction.