What Is Public Interest Lawyering?

Because this blog is about public interest lawyering, it is important to define what exactly I mean by the term. We could define it as all legal work not done for a remunerative purpose, but rather to achieve some other goal. This definition is convenient if we want to ignore the fact that people disagree about what is in the public interest.

Take abortion rights as an example. Pro-choice lawyers spend their careers fighting to protect and expand abortion rights. Pro-life advocates spend their careers trying to cut back and eliminate abortion rights. Under this first definition of public interest lawyering, both sides could be engaging in public interest lawyering, even though they seek to achieve diametrically opposed goals. In both cases, it is not money that motivates the lawyers, but principles of equality and justice. They simply happen to disagree about how to interpret what those principles mean.

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