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Important education reform litigation is often undertaken by lawyers with admirable intentions. It is too easy, however, particularly in the context of large, enduring, complex litigation where it is difficult to identify the class, much less name and pursue the class's goals, to lose sight of the client-lawyer relationship and the significance of client autonomy. Several recent lawsuits concerning the enforceability of No Child Left Behind exemplify issues that arise in class representation. In devising legal strategies, lawyers must balance the need to address clients' immediate problems with the pursuit of longer-term strategies for change, such as organization and mobilization. It is difficult work, but only through careful attention to relationships with and among clients and communities will lawyers participate effectively in achieving meaningful education reform.


Originally published by Boston College Third World Law Journal in 2007.