Victor M. Hwang argues that the Hmong campaign for justice demonstrates that rebellious lawyering is an optimistic alternative to addressing the current attacks on communities of color, despite the disagreement between race scholars and practitioners in preserving civil rights.
“Unlike regnant lawyering, which has been criticized for placing too much emphasis on the attorney and the legal system, or even traditional civil rights lawyering, which some believe places too much emphasis on the rule of law… rebellious lawyering perceives the law as only one of many tools in the campaign for social change. This approach treats the client as a partner in the struggle and engages in an ‘everything at once’ strategy. The practice… of… rebellious lawyering not only involves a client in the attorney’s legal case, but also integrates the attorney’s legal case into the client’s campaign for justice by conducting a simultaneous and coordinated attack in the courts of law, media, and public opinion.”
“This paper… analyze[s] the legal, educational, and organizing campaign in the recent struggle of the Hmong for restoration of food stamp benefits in the face of welfare reform as an example of the potential for strategic… rebellious lawyering.”
Excerpted from Victor M. Hwang, THE HMONG CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE: A PRACTITIONER’S PERSPECTIVE, 9 Asian L.J. 83 (2002).
Victor M. Hwang is a San Francisco-based attorney with more than two decades of experience in family law, criminal law, civil rights, and immigration. Visit here for his website: http://roninlawyer.com/