Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Trubek on Public Interest Law, Past and Present

Louise Trubek (Wisconsin--Law) has posted a working paper to SSRN, "Public Interest Law: Facing the Problems of Maturity," that may be of interest to historians of the legal profession and scholars of public interest law. The abstract follows and the full paper is available here.

This article discusses the history and current status of public interest law. It examines the seminal work of the 1970s that established public interest law and contrasts the early period with the complexities and challenges today. It opens with a discussion of the key aspects of enterprise in the 1970s: creation of a new institutional form, the new role of public interest lawyer, the business plan for financing the firms and the economic, institutional regulatory justification. That the project has succeeded and public interest law has become a permanent part of the U.S. legal system. Looking at where we are today however there are two unfinished projects: inequality in society and the limits of the regulatory process. Lawyers today are redesigning the 1970s concepts to meet the challenges. They are engaging in collaborative practices, utilizing new roles as collaborators and facilitators, locating additional compensation and participating in public interest endeavors around the world.