Divorce Lawyers and Their Clients

Divorce Lawyers and Their Clients : Power and Meaning in the Legal Process

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Description

Based on over 100 lawyer-client conferences this book charts the complicated and shifting relationships between lawyers and clients as they work out the strategy and tactics of divorce. As observers, Felstiner and Sarat were present when lawyers and clients confronted the full range of issues that occur during a divorce. This book examines the relationship between lawyer and client, the nature of the marriage and why marriages fail, the nature of the legal process, and the best way to resolve divorce.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 204 pages
  • 147.3 x 223.5 x 15.2mm | 317.52g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195117999
  • 9780195117998
  • 2,004,717

Review quote

"This astonishing book provides a more concrete, intimate picture of the lawyer-client relation than I would have thought possible. In doing so, it challenges most of the conventional assumptions about lawyering. This is critical social theory with the vividness and excitement of modernist fiction."--William H. Simon, Stanford Law School"This lively and compelling book takes the reader into the offices of divorce lawyers for fascinating glimpses into the difficult and tense moments when lawyers and clients negotiate divorce cases and discuss how the law works and what it can do for them. Theoretically, it is a brilliant interpretive study of the way meanings are made and contested in discussions between legal professionals and their clients. Ironically, it reveals the elusiveness of meaning and the fragility of the power of law in these situations. This is essential reading for anyone interested in the process of divorce or in the newest work in interpretive sociolegal scholarship."--Sally Engle Merry, Wellesley College and Past President of the Law & Society Association"Divorce Lawyers and Their Clients is interpretive scholarship at its best. It will stimulate scholars and instruct practitioners. While it presents to socio-legal scholars a critique and reorientation of orthodox ways for analyzing power in lawyer-client relationships, it also offers rich insights on practice to reflective practitioners of matrimonial law and to law teachers who seek effectively to prepare their students for a client-centered practice on law."--Robert MacCrate, former President of the American Bar Association, and Partner, Sullivan & Cromwell"This book illustrates what social study of law at its best can offer: vivid portrayals of how lawyers and law itself appear to clients and observers in settings usually inaccessible to outsiders. The authors brilliantly explore how lawyers and clients negotiate their own relationships, the meanings of their experiences, the relation between law and emotion, and ultimately, the place of choice and fate. Anyone interested in divorce, law-in-action, professionalism, or the struggle for meaning in the face of human crises should read and reread this book."--Martha Minow, Harvard Law School"Everybody complains about lawyers, but no one does anything about them. One reason is that we have almost no reliable knowledge of what they do. For years social scientists said lawyer-client interactions could not be studied. But Austin Sarat and Bill Felstiner proved them wrong. This is the most comprehensive empirical investigation of how lawyers shape client understandings and objectives. The analysis is nuanced and sophisticated. It will be essential reading for both divorce lawyers and their clients as well as anyone seeking to reform the legal profession and legal education."--Richard Abel, University of California at Los Angeles Law School"This book allows us a rare peek behind closed doors. Beautifully written and sensitively interpreted by Sarat and Felstiner, Divorce Lawyers and Their Clients shows how lawyers and clients attempt to mediate complex, shifting, and frequently conflicted versions of reality. Setting a standard for what a sophisticated legal anthropology can achieve, the book also provides a guide to both lawyers and clients enmeshed in this exquisitely delicate process."--Diane Vaughan, author of Uncoupling: Turning Points in Intimate Relationships"This book provides an excellent example of the emerging contributions of interprevist scholarship in sociolegal studies....By reporting on a unique set of data about lawyer-client interactions in divorce cases, the authors advance everyone's understanding of this crucial site for the creation, interpretation, communication and application of law."--The Law and Politics Book Reviewshow more

About Austin Sarat

Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College. He has written and edited many books and articles on the theory and practice of law, including Cause Lawyering (OUP, 1997) and Race, Law, and Culture (OUP, 1997).William L. F. Felstiner is Professor in the Law and Society Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Distinguished Research Professor of Law at the University of Wales, Cardiff. He is General Editor of the Onati International Series in Law and Society.show more

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