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Young People's Perceptions and Experiences of the Lawyer-Client Relationship

NCJ Number
Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice Volume: 49 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2007 Pages: 375-401
Michele Peterson-Badali; Stephanie Care; Julia Broeking
Date Published
July 2007
27 pages
This study examined young people’s lawyer-client relationship experiences and explored what issues were raised in relation to their reported satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
Findings of the study support the hypothesis that youths’ ratings of participation, objectivity, trustworthiness, and treatment with dignity and respect are related to their satisfaction with their lawyers. The results also suggest that youths’ perceptions of fairness-related elements of control and non-control are independently related to their evaluations of lawyers. This means that satisfaction with lawyers relates to more than just the extent to which youth feel they have a direct say in what goes on in the lawyer-client relationship. The findings suggest that lawyers’ attempts to facilitate satisfactory relationships with their young clients may be aided when lawyers make an effort to treat youth fairly, straightforwardly, and with respect and dignity. Lastly, the results suggest that youths’ evaluations of their lawyers were influenced by their perceptions of the establishment of their own roles. Those who considered their role in the relationship as one they chose of their own accord were significantly more satisfied than those who viewed their part as imposed upon them. Despite the rise in lawyer-youth relations in recent decades, there has been little systematic investigation of the lawyer-client relationship from the perspective of adolescent clients. The purpose of this study was to gain initial insight into factors affecting evaluations of lawyer-related experiences by assessing adolescents’ personal accounts of their experiences with lawyers. Tables, references