Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


School of Urban Planning and Regional Studies

Major Professor

Luft, Rachel

Second Advisor


Third Advisor

Crier, Shelaswau


Cause lawyers maintain primary commitments to causes and pursue political and moral objectives that go well beyond the traditional lawyering objective of client service, which is the goal of most conventional lawyers. In this research I conduct in-depth interviews with cause lawyers involved in efforts for social change in post-Katrina New Orleans to develop a richer understanding of their roles within social movements and how they conceive of and negotiate the core tensions in their work. I investigate the lawyers' roles within social movements situated in legal, political and social climates that are overwhelmingly inhospitable to their ultimate goals. Ultimately, this research presents a portrait of cause lawyers who develop alternative modes of practice that are more commonly associated with movement organizers and more closely aligned with movement goals of individual and community empowerment than are traditional models of lawyering.


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