Lawyers in society 30 years on
Coordinators: Ulrike Schultz (Fern Universität in Hagen), Ole Hammerslev (Universtiy of Southern Denmark), Hilary Sommerlad (University of Leeds), Richard Abel (UCLA)
Our experience in Oñati
On September 12-13, IISL hosted the group that is revisiting Abel & Lewis, “Lawyers in Society” (3 vols. 1988-89). This project, involving nearly a hundred participants from many disciplines and some 50 countries, will produce two volumes (to be published by Hart) examining changes over the last 30 years through reports on 45 national legal professions and 15-20 thematic chapters exploring theoretical issues across nations.
The 30 participants engaged in vigorous discussion during our more than two days in Onati. (Vincenzo Ferrari, the Scientific Director, attended and participated in all the sessions. Patara McKeen, who successfully defended his LL.M. dissertation immediately after the Bilkura, served as rapporteur.) After each paper was presented, another designated participant initiated the discussion by posing a set of questions. We heard national reports on Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, France, Switzerland, England and Wales, the United States, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, and Poland, and on EU lawyers. In addition, we discussed thematic chapters on ethnicity, paralegals, legal ethics and self-regulation, legal education, professional organizations and the construction of law, and comparative methodology.
Although members of the group had met at events organized by the Law and Society Association (Seattle, New Orleans, Mexico City) and the ISA RCSL and its Working Group for Comparative Study of Legal Professions (Andorra and Vienna), this was the first time a large number of us were able to engage in an extended discussion over several days. The Bilkura has played an essential role in advancing our project.