In Praise of Litigation

Alexandra Lahav. Oxford Univ., $29.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-19-938080-0
In the face of the widespread popular perception that lawsuits are inimical to American society, law professor Lahav is persuasive in demonstrating that litigation “is a social good and promotes democracy,” even if it is a far from perfect tool. Her contention is bolstered by her well-reasoned analyses that perfectly balance detail with brevity, making this work fully accessible to non-lawyers and readers unversed in the debates about access to justice and tort reform. Lahav divides the societal benefits of litigation into four categories—the core democratic values of “enforcement of the law, transparency through litigation, participation in self-government, and equality before the law”—and devotes a concise chapter to each. She is especially effective at contrasting media depictions of the litigation landscape with reality, and illuminating the hidden agendas of some opponents of the current system. Lahav believes that their real concern “is not litigation per se, but the underlying rights people are seeking to enforce by bringing lawsuits.” The book will serve as an effective complement to Erwin Chemerinsky’s more technical Closing the Courthouse Doors: How the Supreme Court Made Your Rights Unenforceable. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/12/2016
Release date: 02/01/2017
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