Christine N. Cimini and Doug Smith, Modalities of Social Change Lawyering, 26 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 1035 (2023), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/928
Lewis & Clark Law Review
Progressive social change lawyering, Rebellious lawyering, Community lawyering, Catalytic lawyering, Collaborative lawyering, Public interest lawyering, Cause lawyering, Movement lawyering, Lawyering, Legal profession, Lawyering theory, Immigrant rights, Immigration, Immigration enforcement
The last decade has seen the rise of new kinds of grassroots social movements. Movements including Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Sunrise, and #MeToo pushed back against long-standing political, economic, and social crises, including income inequality, racial inequality, police violence, climate change, and the widespread culture of sexual abuse and harassment. As these social change efforts evolve, a growing body of scholarship has begun to theorize the role of lawyers within these new social movements and to identify lawyering characteristics that contribute to sustaining social movements over time. This Article surveys this body of literature and proposes a typology of terminology that names, identifies, and distinguishes the underlying characteristics and principles of prominent models of social change lawyering. Our typology is intended to create common conceptual ground in the field. The Article then applies this typology to the case study of one social change campaign to illustrate the ways scholars and advocates can use the framework to think strategically about tailoring goals and strategies to various sociological and theoretical factors. By mapping advocacy to theories of social change lawyering and tailoring such work to socio–legal factors, our goals are several. We hope our typology will launch a conversation that enables scholars and lawyers to evaluate diverse lawyering modalities in light of lawyers’ conception of their roles, their theory of social change, and the contexts in which they work. We also hope that our typology provokes engagement and correction, in the spirit of collectively imagining new ways of inhabiting the lawyering role that support critical social change efforts.