Relationship-Centered Lawyering. Social science theory for transforming legal practice
This volume presents a highly innovative approach to legal practice grounded in human development and social interaction theories. Relationship-Centered Lawyering fulfills the deep and widespread yearning expressed by many practitioners to recapture past idealized images of the citizen lawyer. This groundbreaking book also responds to the dramatic changes within the legal profession within the past twenty years as well as new challenges for lawyers and judges created by our increasingly global society. The quest for a restored public image and a fulfilling professional life is reflected in the convergence of a number of movements that have swept across a wide swath of the legal profession including practitioners, judges, and legal scholars/educators. Such movements include Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Preventive Law, Restorative Justice, Transformative Mediation, and Humanizing Legal Education. In addition, recent reports on the state of the legal profession and legal education have issued recommendations for reform. The forward-looking approach presented in this volume directly responds to the call for a revitalized understanding of professionalism leading to a renewed sense of public trust, and enhanced professional training for the practice of law in the twenty-first century. A unique feature of this framework is its empirically tested scientific base. Relationship-centered lawyering is grounded in well-accepted principles and theories principally drawn from the mental health fields of social work and psychology. The relationship-centered approach calls upon lawyers to gain competency in three distinct areas: (1) contextualized understandings of human development; (2) just and effective legal process; and (3) affective and interpersonal competence.