UC Law Journal


Professor Dinerstein's Essay examines the value and liabilities of the theoretics of practice movement. He tells the tale of a criminal case his clinic handled in which the client insisted on telling an inculpatory story. Tracing the twists of the story and noting the advocates' practices of client-centered counseling and sensitivity to concerns raised by narrative theory, he points out the unpredictable impact of such theories about practice when actually applied.

He criticizes the inaccessibility of much of the theoretics literature and questions the utility of much of it for those who actually practice law. He calls for critical examination of whether the various alternative visions of legal practice advanced are likely to be effective and, if not, for analysis of the conditions under which they could become so. Professor Dinerstein warns that blaming legal services lawyers for the phenomenon of client subordination without examining the bleak context within which they operate may lead us to lose sight of who or what really needs to change in order to empower clients.

The Essay concludes that while the theoretics of practice literature offers rich insights to thoughtful practitioners and writers, to fulfill its potential it must speak more plainly to practitioners and strive to capture more authentically the voices and perspectives of clients.

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