This essay, adapted from the keynote speech for the conference, reflects upon how lawyers respond to dissent within social movements—over the goals of social change efforts and the means of pursuing them. Drawing upon case studies from the LGBT rights and labor contexts, it describes specific challenges to managing dissent within “top-down” and “bottom-up” lawyering models. From the top-down, it explores how lawyers in the California marriage equality movement addressed repeated legal challenges over litigation tactics. From the bottom-up, it describes how lawyers for a community-labor coalition dealt with competing conceptions of the public good in a campaign to stop Wal-Mart from opening a supercenter in one Los Angeles neighborhood. As the cases suggests, how well movement lawyers manage dissent shapes the effectiveness and legitimacy of what they achieve.
Scott L. Cummings,
How Lawyers Manage Intragroup Dissent,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol89/iss2/3