Document Type


Publication Date



Clinical Law Review




This article examines the tentative beginnings of Gerald Lopez's decades-long project of using storytelling as a method to describe, understand, and analyze the work of lawyers. It evaluates his 1984 article, Lay Lawyering, for its contributions to the development of narrative as a descriptive, explanatory, and critical device for compre­hending the complex and fraught work of lawyers. It begins with a detailed critique of the four parts of Lay Lawyering. In the article, Lopez first identifies problem solving and stock stories as the key concepts defining the work of the lawyer and then tells three stories from three perspectives about the efforts of a son to get a cab for his mother so she can seize the opportunity to attend a concert at Car­negie Hall. The article offers three critiques of this early work. First, the narratives of Lay Lawyering obscure the client. Second, the ab­stracted, decontextualized quality of all the stories creates the sense that problem solving is abstracted, too. Third, the narrative about lay lawyering emphasizes the internal process of thinking about how stock stories are implicated in the son's process of solving his mother's problem. Without depicting action and its results, the ac­counts are incomplete and distorted, offering no analysis of the role of acting in challenging stock stories and in generating new ways to solve problems. The article then places Lay Lawyering in the trajec­tory of Lopez's work up to REBELLIOUS LAWYERING and within the broader development of narrative theory of law



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