Legal Advocacy

Lawyers and Nonlawyers at Work
Herbert M. Kritzer
Compares the performance of lawyers and non-lawyers as advocates in various legal proceedings


Because of concern over the cost and quality of legal representation in this country many have argued that formally trained lawyers are not the best advocates in many situations. However, the professional bar has fought to maintain its monopoly on the provision of legal services. Can nonlawyers be effective legal advocates? Herbert Kritzer provides the first systematic comparative study of the work of lawyers and nonlawyers that evaluates the quality of representation provided by lawyers and nonlawyers. The book describes lawyers and nonlawyer advocates at work in four different legal settings: unemployment compensation claims appeals, Social Security disability appeals, state tax appeals, and labor grievance arbitrations.

The analysis shows clearly that nonlawyers can be effective advocates and, in some situations, more effective than many lawyers. Kritzer combines an examination of case outcomes with a systematic observation of advocates in the hearing room, providing a compelling portrait of their work and a solid basis for understanding the differences in the effectiveness of advocates with different training. The author's findings have important implications for our policies toward restrictions on those who can provide legal assistance, specialization in training and practice, and the meaning of professional monopolies in a world of increasing complexity.

This book will appeal to student of the legal process, the sociology of professions, and all concerned with the operation of the U.S. legal system.

Herbert M. Kritzer is Professor of Political Science and Law, University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is the author of Let's Make a Deal and The Justice Broker.

Praise / Awards

  • "Kritzer provides a solid basis for understanding the differences in legal advocacy, effectiveness, and ability of advocates with radically different legal training. This is a noteworthy book, and there is value in extending this approach to other areas, such as medicine, where similar debates about licensing are taking place. . . . [F]aculty and students of the sociology of professions and public law will find this book extremely important for research and seminar reading."
    —Marc-Georges Pufong, Valdosta State University, American Political Science Review, September 2000
  • ". . . an important and compelling study of the ways in which legal interests are articulated in court. Since it convincingly shows that, to some extent, lawyers are not a necessary feature of the judicial process, it is sure to spark debate over the direction and future of the legal representation."
    —Kevin T. McGuire, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Law and Politics Book Review, Vol. 9, No. 7

News, Reviews, Interviews

Review Law and Politics Book Review | 7/1/1999

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 288pp.
  • 9 figures, 17 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 1999
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10935-7

Add to Cart
  • $84.95 U.S.