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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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Postmodern Legal Condition: A Charisma in Transition

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Marta Bucholc

It is one of the more striking features of contemporary culture in the Western world that a lawyer has become one of its more important heroes. It is particularly conspicuous in the mass culture: the figure of a lawyer often seems to take place once occupied by more traditional protagonists like knights-in-armor, princes or tricksters. There is a vast range of ‘juristic genres’ in today’s Western popular imagery, from heroic epics like The Pelican Brief, through fantasy and horror images of legal world in the type of The Devil’s Advocate, up to good old-fashioned tales of suspense like the evergreen The Firm. There is also the phenomenon of court dramas and mediatized court proceedings, both fictional and non-fictional, in which „sexy men in wigs“ play the first fiddle (Bainbridge 2009). Not to mention the many and varying TV-series, whose plots are evolving around the world of lawyers and law firms, the notable Allie McBeal being just one example of new legal fiction (see Alexeeva 2002, Sharp 2002).

Many simplistic explanations could be offered to shed some light on this unprecedented popularity of legal professions and, in particular, of private lawyers. What we see in the movies are smartly dressed, handsome people who are also usually rich. They are typically either barristers or private business lawyers. We are seldom confronted with the fate of a paralegal or of a lawyer employed by public administration. The dream-world lawyers work in sky-scrapers in huge cities and have...

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