One hallmark of Herb Jacob's analyses of criminal courts - extensive consideration of the interaction among actors - was less pronounced in his work on civil justice, which was more focused on institutions and the politics behind the laws that those institutions administered. In the research I report here, my emphasis is squarely on the actors in the civil justice process: the relationship between contingency-fee lawyers and clients, and how that relationship plays out in the settlement process. In Felony Justice, Herb, and his coauthor James Eisenstein, focus on the courtroom workgroup as a caseprocessing (and, largely, case-settling) machine; clients are relatively peripheral. In my account, clients, both current and future, are extremely important in how the lawyer works to settle cases. In the criminal court workgroup, lawyers do not worry about where future clients will come from because police secure them. In contrast, the contingency-fee lawyer has constant concerns about future clients, and I argue, this concern provides a control over lawyers that prior analyses of the contingency fee have largely missed. This dynamic also may explain why the courtroom workgroups, or court communities, found in the criminal courts do not appear to exist in the civil justice system.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||27|
|Journal||Law and Social Inquiry|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1998|