George Fox, founder of the Religious Society of Friends, admonished his followers against “going to law.” In this fascinating, wide-ranging book, a Quaker lawyer explores the relationship between Quakers and the American legal system and discusses Friends’ legal ethics. A highly influential group in the US both for their spiritual ideals of harmony, equality and truth-telling and for their activism on many causes including abolition and opposition to war, Quakers have had many noteworthy interactions with the law.
Nancy Black Sagafi-nejad sketches the history and beliefs of the early Quakers in England and America, then goes on to look at important twentieth century constitutional law cases involving Quakers, many involving civil rights issues. Sagafi-nejad’s survey of 100 Quaker lawyers shows them to be at odds with the adversarial system and highlights a legal practice which must balance truth-telling and zealous advocacy. The Quaker development of extra-legal dispute resolution to solve debates amongst Friends is discussed along with a look at the possible future of mediation.