In this inspiring debut guide, Tyner presents stories and ideas to motivate and encourage those in the legal field.
The author, a lawyer and a public-policy professor at the University of St. Thomas, demonstrates her passion for preserving the legal profession—one of the most revered careers in Western society. She notes that many schools give students the tools to practice law without offering leadership lessons. Furthermore, she suggests that leaders are made, not born. The “new social justice lawyer,” she says, is one who not only solves real-time problems, but who also diligently works to help build the future of the American justice system, its actors, and the communities it serves. Her book draws from the wisdom of thinkers spanning several centuries and uses vivid metaphors to illustrate its points; for example, while discussing the lawyer’s role, she quotes the late psychologist Abraham Maslow: “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” Tyner suggests that lawyers use the multitude of tools at their disposals—not only to recognize current social problems, but also to envision social-justice for the future, and in new contexts. She notes it’s crucial for the new social-justice lawyer to research and analyze current issues and to compare the American legal system with other countries’. The book also emphasizes that today’s attorneys have an obligation to train and mentor new generations and to provide models of effective characteristics and skills. Tyner uses stories of law professors, as well as people such as Nelson Mandela and Mohandas K. Gandhi, to show how one can use leadership to encourage the strengths of others. Such themes of authenticity and integrity ring through the entire book.
For anyone entering the world of law, this is a crucial read that offers a powerful message about effecting positive social change.