LAW & SOCIETY REVIEW
VOLUME 57 | NUMBER 2
A “good fit”: Client sorting among nonprofit, private, and pro bono immigration attorneys
Existing scholarship finds that having an attorney in immigration legal proceedings increases the chances of a favorable outcome. This work, however, often acknowledges that the representation effect is underexplained: selection may explain outcomes, and variation among attorneys is difficult to assess. Through 103 interviews with attorneys who practice immigration law in three organizational environments (nonprofit legal services, private firms, and corporate law firm pro bono programs) in two East Coast areas, this paper argues that attorneys’ sorting of clients between different types of legal organizations helps explain the representation effect. Attorneys define what type of case is a “good fit” for their representation, selecting cases they think they can help increase the probability of a favorable outcome. However, what they define as a “good fit” varies by attorneys’ practice environments, and centers not only on the facts or characteristics of a client and their case, but also attorneys’ organizational constraints. By documenting the central role of practice environment variation and its organizational constraints on attorneys’ case selection, this paper helps explain the representation effect and its implications for increasing vulnerable immigrants’ access to legal representation in the United States.
Knowledge production through legal mobilization: Environmental activism against the U.S. military bases in East Asia
Claudia Junghyun Kim, Celeste L. Arrington
There is growing interest in social movement actors as knowledge producers, but many movements have limited ability to access or produce credible, authoritative information. Building on sociolegal scholarship and social movement studies, we show how movements can overcome knowledge gaps they have via-à-vis state authorities and contribute to public knowledge through institutional tactics. We argue that features of the process of legal mobilization activate mechanisms that bolster movements’ credibility, reveal or generate information, and thereby facilitate social movement knowledge production. We theorize these dynamics by analyzing environmental activism against U.S. military bases in Japan and South Korea, which allows us to leverage most similar legal contexts and types of claims to identify and illustrate the mechanisms.
Legitimacy and online proceedings: Procedural justice, access to justice, and the role of income
Avital Mentovich, J.J. Prescott, Orna Rabinovich-Einy
Courts have long struggled to bridge the access-to-justice gap associated with in-person hearings, which makes the recent adoption of online legal proceedings potentially beneficial. Online proceedings hold promise for better access: they occur remotely, can proceed asynchronously, and often rely solely on written communication. Yet these very qualities may also undermine some of the well-established elements of procedural-justice perceptions, a primary predictor of how people view the legal system’s legitimacy. This paper examines the implications of shifting legal proceedings online for both procedural-justice and access-to-justice perceptions. It also investigates the relationship of both types of perceptions with system legitimacy, as well as the relative weight these predictors carry across litigant income levels. Drawing on online traffic court cases, we find that perceptions of procedural justice and access to justice are each separately associated with a litigant’s appraisal of system legitimacy, but among lower-income parties, access to justice is a stronger predictor, while procedural justice dominates among higher-income parties. These findings highlight the need to incorporate access-to-justice perceptions into existing models of legal legitimacy.
Relational legal consciousness in the one-child nation
This article draws from a qualitative study of people’s responses to China’s population control policies to analyze the relational formation of legal consciousness within and across different types of relationships. It demonstrates that our expectations of others and theirs of us regarding how to respond to law change significantly when we situate ourselves in different types of relationships. The fluid boundaries of relationships in Chinese society also make it essential to think and plan relationally and holistically across different types of relationships to come up with strategies to resist or comply with the law. During this process of relational formation of legal consciousness, law interacts with and reshapes social norms to determine the (un)availability of alternative mechanisms based on the individual’s social and financial status.
Outside the brackets: Why school administrators fail to see gendered harassment within an antibullying law
Jeffrey Lane, Hana Shepherd, Holly Avella, Aaron Martin
Much of school bullying involves students policing the gender roles and sexuality of other students. The proliferation of antibullying laws presents an opportunity to formally punish and mark gendered harassment as unacceptable. However, when this form of peer policing involves girls, administrators often consider it to fall outside the purview of the law. We use bracketing theory to understand how middle school administrators in New Jersey assess whether student behavior violates a statewide harassment, intimidation, and bullying law. We find that, according to administrators, violations require relational asymmetry between an aggressor and victim: an imbalance of power and disproportionate participation. Administrators rarely see gendered harassment as bullying because of the relational stereotypes they attach to girl students, which often preclude interpretations of relational asymmetry. We discuss how gender beliefs among administrators and “bracketing failures” explain the ways antibullying laws allow hegemonic beliefs about gender and sexuality to remain untroubled.
Face-work in Chinese routine criminal trials
This article examines the performative aspect of face-to-face interactions among various legal actors and defendants in routine criminal trials in China. Using 105 trial videos as empirical data, the author develops a face-work framework to understand how an individual judge’s “face”—signifying judges’ legal and political roles, and their professional status—is established, protected, and enhanced during courtroom interactions. The study shows that the legal face of judges can be established by some characterizations of the nature of criminal trials such as the demarcation of legal space, the speed of the trial, and the apprising of rights to the defendants. Nevertheless, the legal face can also be disrupted by trial interactions due to judges’ lack of judicial authority. Hence, Chinese judges maintain their authority through the establishment of their political face. They also use both their political face and legal face to establish their situational professional status. These interactions often lead to punitive and coercive measures against defendants in trials. While the article focuses on routine criminal trials in China, the face-work framework has the potential to explain courtroom interactions in other types of social contexts and legal proceedings.
Virtual searches: Regulating the covert world of technological policing. By Christopher Slobogin. New York: New York University Press, 2022. 272 pp. $30.00 hardcover
Ari Ezra Waldman
Protection from refuge: From refugee rights to migration management. By Kate Ogg. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022. 215 pp. $110.00 hardcover
Xander Creed, Dr. Jeff Handmaker
Doodem and council fire: Anishinaabe governance through alliance. By Heidi Bohaker. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020. 304 pp. $37.95 paperback
M. Alexander Pearl
The ex post facto clause: its history and role in a punitive society. By Wayne A. Logan. New York: Oxford University Press, 2022. 312 pp. $39.95 hardcover
Sociology of law as the science of norms. By Håkan Hydén. London: Routledge, 2021. 338 pp. $170.00 hardcover
Engage and evade: How Latino immigrant families manage surveillance in everyday life. By Asad L. Asad. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2023. 344 pp. $33.00 hardcover
Oscar R. Cornejo Casares
Spectacles and spectres: A performative theory of political trials. By Basak Ertür. New York: Fordham University Press, 2022. 228 pp. $30.00 paperback