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Engaging Hearts and Minds: How and Why Legal Organizations Use Public Education

  • David L. Trowbridge

Abstract

While scholars recognize that cause lawyers use public education as a reform tactic, they rarely place this tactic at the center of their analysis, leaving a gap in our understanding of how cause lawyers use extrajudicial tactics to navigate the limits of litigation. In this article, I examine the role of public education in the work of cause lawyers, through a study of lawyers from eight legal organizations representing the rights of LGBTQ people. Through interviews, archival work, and analysis of publications, I find that lawyers and organizations use education for four functions: (1) to prime a pathway to successful litigation; (2) to control for backlash; (3) to leverage pressure during litigation or policy negotiation; and (4) to generate community and public awareness. This article shows that public education is not simply an ancillary tool to these groups—it is vital to their missions and their everyday work.

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Copyright

Footnotes

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The article has been substantially improved by feedback on numerous drafts from fantastic scholars and mentors Julie Novkov, Ellen Andersen, and Matthew Ingram. The author would also like to thank the journal’s anonymous reviewers for improving the clarity and quality of the article. This project was possible in part thanks to funding from the University at Albany Dissertation Research Award and the University at Albany Benevolent Association Grant. IRB No. 15X190‐02.

Footnotes

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Engaging Hearts and Minds: How and Why Legal Organizations Use Public Education

  • David L. Trowbridge

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