Hidden Cases, Hidden Lawyers: Unofficial Lawyering and Conflict Resolution in Pre-Statehood Texas
Feminist theories and methodologies developed out of their own lived experiences by Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) provide a roadmap that can be adapted to other social groups’ individual or collective searches for equity and inclusion. This thesis project is a story about how attorneys, law students and every person interested in the legal world can learn and apply BIPOC feminist concepts towards building a more diverse and equitable legal profession, a niche currently characterized by its racial and gender homogeneity. More specifically, this is a story about how anybody, particularly people of color, can dive into spatial and historical interstices to make better sense of the contributions their own ethno-racial groups have made to the forging of the legal profession in Texas. This thesis gives account of my own archival and bibliographical research towards “rewriting” people of color into the history of the legal profession in Texas and the various practices of lawyering and conflict resolution they might have engaged in, drawing from the work of Chicana feminist and historian, Dr. Emma Pérez, and previous theorists Michel Foucault, Homi Bhabha, Chela Sandoval, and James C. Scott. It also contains my own “Anzaldúan autohistoria-teoría” as a White, Hispanic, cisheterosexual, male attorney, that moved into San Antonio, Texas, after being born in Madrid Spain and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Now an inhabitant of Nepantla (Anzaldúa, 1987) and taking care not to engage in cultural appropriation or assume a savior role, I find value in BIPOC feminist thought for everyone. Hence, one of my main arguments is that BIPOC feminist theories and methodologies have a universal value that transcends BIPOC feminism itself and is an invaluable tool for everyone who wishes to center non-normative discourses or perspectives, regardless of race, gender, and other intersectional characteristics. By applying this argument to my own archival work, I found that current scholarship about the history of Law in Texas is incomplete, as it largely ignores the lawyering practices of communities of color since time immemorial, beyond considerations of race, class, and gender.
Finally, this project also aims to be a pedagogical tool for privileged groups and individuals to achieve a better understanding of the legal profession in Texas, while embracing diversity and equity in the legal field.