What's in a Name?: Cause Lawyers as Conceptual Category


Stuart Scheingold's and Austin Sarat's "Something to Believe In: Politics, Professionalism, and Cause Lawyering," (Stanford University Press, December 2004) draws on a decade of empirical and theoretical work on cause lawyering. Scheingold’s and Sarat’s law and society scholarship contributes to our knowledge of lawyering, the law, work with clients and social movements, and the interplay between what Ewick and Silbey have called "legality" and the social world. Their cross-disciplinary work makes a significant contribution to the social sciences as well as to the field of legal studies. This review examines the utility of cause lawyering as a concept that contributes to our academic knowledge base as well as to the "actual" work of lawyering. Scheingold and Sarat push the boundaries of the legal-centric framework of the scholarship on lawyers in their examination of the relationship between cause lawyering and the legal democratic state. This paves the way for what is missing from this literature and thus absent from Scheingold and Sarat’s analysis, which is an examination the client side of cause lawyering.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Human Rights Law | Law and Society | Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility | Legal Profession

Date of this Version

January 2006