Doing Business: The Management of Uncertainty in Lawyers' Work
UCD; University College London; University of Westminster School of Law
Law & Society Review, Vol. 25, No. 1, 1991
Apparently naive, but in fact not, is the question: What do lawyers do? Many scholars assume the central role of the lawyer is that of the advocate, but among lawyers working in law firms advocacy consumes little of their time. Similarly, the term 'lawyer' provides hardly any meaning in itself. The research presented here is based on a participant-observation study of a corporate law firm. The central thesis proposed, in the light of case studies of the selling of a shopping mall and the arranging of a bank loan, is that business lawyers are engaged in managing uncertainty for both their clients and themselves. Managing uncertainty is accomplished through interaction rather than appeals to the law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32
Keywords: business, lawyers, clients, law firms
JEL Classification: J44Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 29, 2008
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