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Community Oriented Lawyering: An Emerging Approach to Legal Practice

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Dated: January 2000 Pages: 26-33
Roger Conner J.D.
Date Published
January 2000
8 pages
This article examines the concept of community oriented lawyering.
In the 1980's a number of police departments began to experiment with a new approach that shifted away from the traditional reactive response and toward proactive problem solving in partnership with the community. In the 1990's a similar development appeared among lawyers whose work affects public safety. Innovative practitioners have begun to move from an exclusive focus on case processing toward addressing problems in concert with neighborhood residents. There are enough of these attorneys, and their work is so distinctive, that it appears a new form of legal practice is emerging: community oriented lawyering. Community oriented lawyers think in terms of the problems of particular people and places. The bottom line is solving problems, increasing neighborhood safety, preventing crime, improving the quality of life and fostering economic development. The community helps define what is important and what constitutes success. The article describes the practitioners and some of their responsibilities in community lawyering and compares them with traditional case-oriented lawyering. Notes