LAWYERS AND THE PURSUIT OF LEGAL RIGHTS. By Joel F. Handler, Ellen Jane Hollingsworth, and Howard S. Erlanger. New York: Academic Press. 1978. Pp. 272.
Lawyers and the Pursuit of Legal Rights is a detailed and optimistic study of what the authors term “legal rights activities,” efforts to expand legal representation to individuals and groups who have been underrepresented in the past. This ambitious book contains both a brief sketch of the history of legal rights activities in the United States and a detailed analysis of a recent survey of professional participation in legal rights work. Answers are sought to three basic questions about contemporary legal rights efforts: Has there been a rise and subsequent decline of legal rights activities, either quantitatively or qualitatively during the past twenty years? What is the present nature of the involvement of lawyers engaging in legal rights activities? What are the implications of the present status of legal rights work for the poor? Overall, the results of the study seem to indicate the existence of a stable community of legal rights lawyers and a potential for expansion of all forms of legal rights work.
Voting rights advocates should explore section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act as a vehicle to combat voter intimidation.
DOJ guidance for mentally impaired detainees in immigration removal proceedings should be amended to provide counsel at earlier signs of incompetence.
Mandatory arbitration for guestworkers, a uniquely vulnerable group, will result in class inequality and worse conditions for all workers.
An evidentiary privilege to protect workers' confidential communications from disclosure in federal and state court proceedings would support unions.