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This essay represents one of several Case Studies published as the Movement Lawyering Roundtable Symposium by Hofstra Law Review. The Case Studies were developed within a roundtable of movement lawyers, community organizers, and legal ethics experts convened in March, 2018 by the Monroe H. Freedman Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics at Hofstra University’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law. This Case Study addresses the ethical tensions encountered by movement lawyers and community organizers engaged in public interest litigation. The Study consists of three topics, with resulting ethics analyses of the issues that arise in the differing settings. The first involves questions of financing the broad work of a community organizing client, while honoring the mandates of the rule of professional conduct prohibiting a lawyer from offering financial assistance to clients in litigation. The second issue addressed how lawyers might share attorneys’ fees awards with community groups who are ongoing clients. The third issue pivots to questions of how movement lawyers might counsel community organizations about disagreements with other pro bono lawyers representing the clients. Each of these sets of legal ethics issues arises in movement lawyering practice, and can be confounding. This essay seeks to offer guidance to lawyers navigating these sometimes delicate ethical waters.


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6 Sep 2022
436 kB



  • Subject
    • Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

    • Nonprofit Organizations Law

  • Journal title
    • Hofstra Law Review

  • Volume
    • 47

  • Issue
    • 1

  • Pagination
    • 43-59

  • Date submitted

    6 September 2022