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Lindsay Lohan

How She Turned it Around

12/14/2011 8:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

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Lindsay Lohan will experience something new in court this AM ... a friendly judge who heaps praise on her, and it's all because her lawyer figured out something that was lacking in her life.

Lindsay will appear before Judge Stephanie Sautner at 10 AM PT for a progress report.  She's on probation for pilfering a necklace at an L.A. jewelry store.

Judge Sautner tried something new ... rather than just telling Lindsay to complete her community service in a year -- or else -- the judge created a very specific schedule, putting in a certain number of hours each month.  And Lindsay has not only complied, she's gone beyond the minimum.  Sources tell us ... Lindsay logged the requisite number of hours of community service and morgue duty, and she's actually put in more therapy time than required.

And sources tell us ... her supervisor at the morgue is blown away, calling her work "stellar," and saying she's "a delight to work with and hard working."

The reason for Lindsay's turnaround -- her lawyer, Shawn Holley, who went to the judge before Lindsay's sentencing and argued that her client needed a rigid structure -- something her own parents never provided. 

Score one for the lawyer.

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