Lawyers in Society 30 Years on

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Seminarsaal 20 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Hilary SOMMERLAD, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
Ole HAMMERSLEV, Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
It is nearly 30 years since Abel and Lewis produced their seminal, comparative study of legal professions.  The research strands which the work identified have been paradigmatic for later studies.   As a product of an epoch of counter-hegemonic political engagement and critical scholarship, it captured many of the major dimensions of these upheavals and their impact on the profession and contributed to the processes which were beginning to de-construct the basic tenets of the classical professional model.

The period since 1988 has seen an extraordinary acceleration of these processes, the emergence of new trends and the reversal of others.  Most striking is the transformation of the world order:  globalisation and the financialisation of capitalism and the related reconfiguration of the nation state and citizenship, and the hegemony of neo-liberal discourses.  The impact on national professions of these developments, and of other forces such as technological change, the expansion and diversification of higher education and the increasing juridification of society, has been dramatic, furthering the transformation of, inter alia, professional rationales, labour markets and working practices.

There is, therefore, an urgent need to revisit the role of legal professions and, through collaborative work, to explore comparatively the impact of these transformations.  This paper will discuss the proposal to update and extend this work, which will take shape through a series of colloquia.  It will elaborate on the project, its research questions and methodologies