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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

Book of the Month

Cover of Goode on Commercial Law

Goode on Commercial Law

Edited by: Ewan McKendrick
Price: £170.00

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Women and Justice for the Poor: A History of Legal Aid, 1863-1945

ISBN13: 9781107446410
Published: April 2015
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Paperback
Price: £22.99
Hardback edition , ISBN13 9781107084537

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This book re-examines fundamental assumptions about the American legal profession and the boundaries between 'professional' lawyers, 'lay' lawyers, and social workers. Putting legal history and women's history in dialogue, it demonstrates that nineteenth-century women's organizations first offered legal aid to the poor and that middle-class women functioning as lay lawyers, provided such assistance.

Felice Batlan illustrates that by the early twentieth century, male lawyers founded their own legal aid societies. These new legal aid lawyers created an imagined history of legal aid and a blueprint for its future in which women played no role and their accomplishments were intentionally omitted.

In response, women social workers offered harsh criticisms of legal aid leaders and developed a more robust social work model of legal aid. These different models produced conflicting understandings of expertise, professionalism, the rule of law, and ultimately, the meaning of justice for the poor.

Legal History, Other Jurisdictions , USA

Part I. A Female Dominion of Legal Aid, 1863-1910:
1. The origins of legal aid
2. The Chicago experience: the maturation of women's legal aid

Part II. The Professionalization of Legal Aid, 1890-1921:
3. Of immigrants, sailors, and servants: the Legal Aid Society of New York
4. Reinventing legal aid

Part III. Dialogues: Lawyers and Social Workers, 1921-45:
5. Constellations of justice
6. Compromises