Twenty-one chapters written by specialists, most of them lawyers, which plainly and accurately set out the basics of a...



Twenty-one chapters written by specialists, most of them lawyers, which plainly and accurately set out the basics of a variety of everyday legal areas. These are: the marketplace (contracts and credit, housing and real estate, health care, product and automobile consumerism); the family (marriage, children, separation and divorce, displaced homemakers); the workplace (education, discrimination, sexual harassment, health and safety at work, starting a business, planning for retirement); and the criminal justice system (arrest and testimony, family violence, rape). A brief description of the US legal system and the choices available in going to court (attorney or serf-representation, arbitration, mediation) is also included. Most of the essays will be equally valuable to men and women; some apply as well to other, overlapping interest groups--like older students or the elderly. Some, however, focus specifically on the law's effect on women who are parties to divorce proceedings; victims of rape, physical abuse, or difficulties at work; etc. Here, culturally-nurtured attitudes that may prevent women from responding appropriately in a given situation are forthrightly identified and supportively corrected (""when a marriage is being dissolved, it is sensible to assume the other party is playing 'for keeps,' and it is both sensible and practical to take steps to safeguard one's interests""); and there are non-legal suggestions too. (The older, non-working woman ""should consider acquiring job skills [her] number one priority."") At the same time, the legal explanations of the gender-focused chapters are among the most diffuse in the book--a reflection, in part, of the laws themselves. A glossary of legal terms is provided, as is a detailed list of back-up organizations--since, as the authors readily acknowledge, variations in state law prevent books like this from doing more than setting out basic concepts, helping the reader know when she needs legal advice, and what to ask, expect, and require of a lawyer. In that respect, more comprehensive and detailed than Martha Pomroy's agreeably informal What Every Woman Needs to Know about the Law (1980).

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 1983


Page Count: -

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1983

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