A timely and multifaceted portrait of the lawyers who serve the diverse constituencies of the conservative movement, Lawyers of the Right explains what unites and divides lawyers for the three major groups—social conservatives, libertarians, and business advocates—that have coalesced in recent decades behind the Republican Party.
Drawing on in-depth interviews with more than seventy lawyers who represent conservative and libertarian nonprofit organizations, Ann Southworth explores their values and identities and traces the implications of their shared interest in promoting political strategies that give lawyers leading roles. She goes on to illuminate the function of mediator organizations—such as the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy—that have succeeded in promoting cooperation among different factions of conservative lawyers. Such cooperation, she finds, has aided efforts to drive law and the legal profession politically rightward and to give lawyers greater prominence in the conservative movement. Southworth concludes, though, that tensions between the conservative law movement’s elite and populist elements may ultimately lead to its undoing.
Alfredo Mirandé, a sociology professor, Stanford Law graduate, and part-time pro bono attorney, represents clients who are rascuache—a Spanish word for “poor” or even “wretched”—and on the margins of society. For Mirandé, however, rascuache means to be “down but not out,” an underdog who is still holding its ground. Rascuache Lawyer offers a unique perspective on providing legal services to poor, usually minority, folks who are often just one short step from jail. Not only a passionate argument for rascuache lawyering, it is also a thoughtful, practical attempt to apply and test critical race theory—particularly Latino critical race theory—in day-to-day legal practice.
Every chapter presents an actual case from Mirandé’s experience (only the names and places have been changed). His clients have been charged with everything from carrying a concealed weapon, indecent exposure, and trespassing to attempted murder, domestic violence, and child abuse. Among them are recent Mexican immigrants, drug addicts, gang members, and the homeless. All of them are destitute, and many are victims of racial profiling. Some “pay” Mirandé with bartered services such as painting, home repairs, or mechanical work on his car. And Mirandé doesn’t always win their cases. But, as he recounts, he certainly works tirelessly to pursue all legal remedies.
Each case is presented as a letter to a fascinating (fictional) “Super Chicana” named Fermina Gabriel, who we are told is an accomplished lawyer, author, and singer. This narrative device allows the author to present his cases as if he were recounting them to a friend, drawing in the reader as a friend as well.
Bookending the individual cases, Mirandé’s introductions and conclusions offer a compelling vision of progressive legal practice grounded in rascuache lawyering.
Representing the Race
Kenneth W. Mack Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress KF372.M33 2012 | Dewey Decimal 340.0922
Representing the Race tells the story of African American lawyers who, during the era of segregation, confronted a tension between their racial and professional identities. Their untold stories pose the unsettling question: What, ultimately, does it mean to “represent” a minority group in the give-and-take of American law and politics?