Representing children, representing what?: Critical reflections on lawyering for children

This article sets forth some critical observations about the role of children's attorneys in reinforcing and challenging sociolegal norms, particularly those norms that are not child-driven or child-centered. More concretely, it critically explores the role of children's lawyers in promoting the individual and systemic interests of their youthful constituents, most of whom receive lawyers because they are caught in systems that predominately serve poor children and children of color. The article first reflects on the indeterminacy and contingency of the category of children, checking our natural tendencies to idealize children and childhood. The second section describes the children's bar, examining its legalistic approach to children's problems and their solutions, which contemplate children in isolation from their families and communities. The third section notes the decline in children's well-being, despite the growth of a children's bar, and sketches five thematic observations that might account for this anomaly and raise questions regarding the utility of children's lawyers and the roles that they might occupy. These observations relate to themultiple gulfs between children and attorneys, and the limitations of rights-based advocacy, particularly for clients who do not have the authority to define justice in their own terms. The final section explores how children's attorneys are beginning to critically assess their dominance and their approaches to the legal representation of children, and to develop methods to ensure that the child's viewpoint is expressed.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Only published papers are available at libraries
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    4 ( #198,584 of 1,088,854 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)


    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.