Robbins, Ruth Anne (2016). Three 3Ls, Kairos, and the Civil Right to Counsel in Domestic Violence Cases. Michigan State Law Review, 2015(4), 1359-1396. Retrieved from https://doi.org/doi:10.7282/T3KH0QM9
AbstractWritten as part of the Michigan State University Law Review's Persuasion in Civil Rights Advocacy symposium, this is the story of three clinic students and the mark they made on New Jersey law. Really, it is a story about students trying to seize kairos, the opportune moment in time to effectuate change. Seeing an opportune moment in time to call attention to a legal issue they identified as important, the three third-year law students in this story wrote, as amici curiae, a brief in support of a petition for certification to the New Jersey Supreme Court on the issue of whether indigent litigants in civil domestic violence cases have the right to court-appointed attorneys. These students and their professors believed the timing was right to argue that indigent litigants involved in the New Jersey domestic violence restraining order process have a legal right to court-appointed counsel as a requirement of equal access to a fair trial. The issue had been briefly raised several years earlier. However, the right to counsel issue had been completely disregarded by the courts, and no state-based advocacy groups pursued the issue. These students, in contrast, saw something to the issue that other advocates had missed. Moreover, they saw it at the right time in their own legal education to act on it, compellingly. The article offers a rhetorical analysis of what they wrote, what happened, and the impact on advocacy in New Jersey domestic violence law.
SubjectsDomestic violence law, Kairos, Storytelling, Law students, Civil right to counsel, Civil Gideon, Domestic violence restraining orders, Right to attorney, Brief writing, Legal writing, Persuasion, Advocacy, Persuasive legal writing, Legal rhetoric
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