ABOUT THIS BOOK
To what extent can and should people participate in dealing with the personal problems they bring to consulting professionals? This book presents two alternative models for the conduct of such professional-client relationships as those between lawyers and clients and doctors and patients. One model, called the traditional, prescribes a role of minimal participation for the client. The other, called the participatory, prescribes a role of decision-making shared by the client and the professional. After presenting the two models and their implications, the book systematically tests their validity in a case study of the lawyer-client relationship in the making of personal injury claims. The distinctive feature of this work is a sophisticated and objective test of the traditional proposition that passive clients get better results than active clients. Evidence drawn from a sample of actual cases of personal injury claimants reveals that active clients in fact fare significantly better than passive clients. The book is important and novel in four respects: it offers the first clear and realistic proposal for increasing the control people can have over the complex problems they bring to professionals; it presents concrete evidence that lay participation in complex decision making need not be inefficient; it gives practical advice to clients and to lawyers for dealing with each other more effectively and it presents a comprehensive picture of the actual and often dramatic experiences of accident victims, and what it is like to make a personal injury claim.