The Lawyer as Leader
Dr. Artika R. Tyner
American Bar Association (2015)
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (12/2014)
“The Lawyer as Leader” by Dr. Artika R. Tyner presents an interesting concept. To empower lawyers to become leaders of social change by the way they practice law. In a society where the financial power has been the most relevant influence in the way its structure has evolved from its original form, this concept can be very refreshing. Contrary to the popular belief of lawyers becoming lawyers to be profitable, Tyner proposes a model where lawyers are educated and prepared to be the new social lawyer, promoting justice by planting their social vision in communities, as well as watching it grow by empowering others to lead. This concept rests in three pillars according to the author: social justice lawyering (promoting social justice through their practice by empowering clients,) leadership (building relationships with others who believe in their social justice vision,) and public policy advocacy (action for change.) The book visits this frame through case studies and different concepts and passions of important lawyers who were of this philosophy and saw lawyers as the architects of social change.
Tyner created a well written and thought provoking book which I believe should not be limited to the practicing law audience, but should be a must read to all people who, in one way or another, participates in social outreach, as well as policy. I am a firm believer that education is the first tool for social change, and Tyner’s book has broadened my view by presenting just how far education for change can go. I also found it to be much easier to read than what I expected thanks to the author’s clear, simple and to the point writing style, as well as the summaries at the end of each chapter. The questions presented at the end of each chapter were perfect to promote deeper personal thought within the reader about the topic.
"The Lawyer as Leader” by Dr. Artika R. Tyner is a five star book and tool that will inspire current and upcoming lawyers to be more than a law practice and become the new social lawyer. In a time when political and economic structures are crumbling all over the world, promoting social justice by those within the justice system might be the best way to start change everywhere else! Definitely a must read.