Adversarial agreements: The attitudes of Israeli family lawyers to litigation in divorce practice

Bryna Bogoch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper examines the legal, demographic and practice factors that are related to adversarial stances among Israeli family lawyers within a context where mediation has been gaining ground but where cultural and institutional forces promote combativeness and litigation. This study is based on a survey of 99 family lawyers and lawyer-mediators, and 38 in-depth structured interviews. The majority of practitioners claimed to seek settlement goals, and regarded themselves as more conciliatory than adversarial, and more settlement oriented than their colleagues. Although litigation was described as undertaken reluctantly or essentially discounted as an adversarial strategy, success in litigation was widely regarded as a professional ideal, and lawyers who fought zealously and won in court were seen to be admired by clients and colleagues. The standard perception of the profession as a whole is derived from the courtroom behavior of the leading Tel Aviv lawyers, so that litigation continues to be simultaneously denigrated, reinterpreted, justified and pursued.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-105
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Law, Crime and Justice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by a grant from the Israel Science Foundation, Grant number 869, with additional funding from the Peleg-Bilig Center for the Study of Family Well-Being and the research fund of the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science Studies at Bar Ilan University. Lynn Mather, Carol Seron, Mavis McLean, John Eekelaar, Avrom Sherr, Orna Deutch and Robert Dingwall were most helpful in planning and developing the research tools used in this study. An enormous debt of gratitude is due Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, my partner in the research, and a true friend. Yael Ronen was an extremely efficient research coordinator, and Efrat Meiri provided invaluable research assistance. I am sincerely grateful to Judith Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Cape Town for valuable discussions and for commenting on the first draft of this paper. I also thank Jacques de Wet and Freedom Gumedze for their advice on statistical matters, and David Cooper, Head of the Department of Sociology, for making me feel so welcome as a visiting scholar at the University of Cape Town where this paper was written.


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