Chapter 20: A realist perspective on legal strategy in (the) practice
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This chapter builds on the ethnography of a cause lawyer’s practice, to identify the ways in which legal strategies are concretely elaborated. More precisely, the cause at stake in this paper is LGBT rights in France, before the legalization of same-sex couples marriage. The cases depicted refer to family law issues for same sex couples, notably regarding parental rights. In tension between the will of the client and the anticipation of the court’s position, the framing of the legal strategy by the lawyer is often a way to find out how to render them compatible. However, depending on the level of jurisdiction, the objective varies from the best solution to a private problem, to the obtention of a precedent. In examining various legal settings and judiciary steps, the chapter demonstrates how a NLR perspective can build on ethnography to better apprehend the complex interweaving of law and politics at the level of legal strategies “in practice”.

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