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Legal Professions at the Crossroads

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Edited By Dariusz Jemielniak

The book collects research-driven chapters from different disciplines: anthropology, sociology, management, and law. It addresses the issues of legal and administrative professionals’ identity, ethics, and workplace enactment. Through an analysis of different groups of lawyers and paralegals, conducted by quantitative or qualitative methods, it draws conclusions on the general condition of these occupations and their role in the society. In particular, the volume covers the issues of criminal judges’ roles, the interplay of law and politics in judicial decisions, and the ways they are standardized. It also addresses the topics of professional logic in public administration, as well as charisma and identity work among lawyers, including LLM students from top world programs. Through an analysis of qualitative interviews, it describes the legal workplace, especially in terms of time commitments. It also disputes the problems of professional ethics in everyday legal work.
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Lawyers at the Crossroads

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Dariusz Jemielniak

„Legal Professions at the Crossroads“ is a project resulting from a research grant from Polish National Science Center (grant agreement no. 4116/B/H03/2011/40), and was possible thanks to a visiting invitation from Harvard Law School (The Labor&Worklife Program) and a sabbatical leave generously granted by Kozminski University.

The empirical question we want to address is, in short, what are the cultural changes in organizational and managerial practices used in knowledge-intensive environment on the example of legal advice companies in particular, and paralegals and administrative workers in general.

Knowledge-intensive environments are commonly described as if they were supra- or a-cultural (Alvesson, 1995, 2004; Jemielniak, 2012). In fact, they are often treated as homogenous and globally similar (Starbuck, 1992). However, there are good reasons to assume that, like in other fields, the organization of knowledge-intensive workplace is very much dependent on cultural-historical context (Hofstede, 1980). These differences contribute to the ongoing development of organizations, providing it with both opportunities and problems, and in many cases may have major, if not crucial influence on organizational performance. In the same time, many of the knowledge-intensive organizations from different countries are in fact similar in some aspects (Newell, Robertson, Scarbrough, & Swan, 2002).

It seems that some features of knowledge intensive organizations in general, and legal companies in particular, are universal, while others are very much locally dependent. This topic is yet understudied, but it is of utter significance for legal companies organization and...

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