Sunday, March 29, 2009

Relis on Perceptions of the Civil Litigation Process

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

Tamara Relis, whom I met at the 2007 Faculty Recruitment Conference, has two pieces of good news.  First, she's joining the faculty at the Touro Law School next year.  Second, she has a book coming out Images from Cambridge University Press entitled Perceptions in Litigation and Mediation: Lawyers, Defendants, Plaintiffs and Gendered Parties.  Here's an abstract:

The book is an analytical study exploring the internal dynamics and realities of case processing in the legal system leading up to and including mediation. In juxtaposing lawyers’ and parties’ understandings, objectives and experiences on all sides of ongoing injury and fatality cases (131 interviews, questionnaires, observations), the data shed new light on how lawyers and disputants think and speak about the meaning of their cases as well as their expectations and aims on how to resolve them. The findings additionally offer insight into how female and male attorneys practice law, and how female and male victims, plaintiffs and defendants experience legal processes.

Three recurrent themes run through the book. The first theme relates to the parallel worlds of understanding and meaning inhabited by legal actors versus lay disputants, reflecting materially divergent interpretations and functions ascribed to litigated case processing and dispute resolution. In providing a unique look into the diversity of prevalent realities, I demonstrate through lawyers’ and parties’ own discourse that both the formal and informal justice systems are not serving many of disputants’ intrinsic, often overriding, needs; and I challenge the notion that disputants and their representatives broadly understand and want the same things during case processing. As such, the parallel worlds’ findings reveal inherent problems with the core workings of the legal system. The second theme, termed lawyers’ “reconceptualization,” pertains to the role of mediation experience in transforming attorneys’ understandings of their cases and their roles within them, with extralegal considerations increasingly becoming inherent within lawyers’ thinking. The third theme relates to the diverse understandings of conflict and its resolution by males and females in professional and disputant groups

Congrats to Tamara on both scores!

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2009/03/relis-on-perceptions-of-the-civil-litigation-process.html

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