The Practice of Law as an Obstacle to Justice: Chinese Lawyers at Work

Ethan Michelson

Maurer School of Law

Law & Society Review, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 1-38, 2006

This article helps strengthen our comparative and theoretical understanding of lawyers as gatekeepers to justice by analyzing the screening practices of lawyers in a non-Western context. The explanation for Chinese lawyers' aversion to representing workers with labor grievances focuses on their own working conditions, on the organization of their legal labor, and on their evaluations of the moral character of prospective clients. By linking the screening practices of Chinese lawyers to their socioeconomic insecurity and to popular stereotypes informing and legitimating their screening decisions, this article identifies institutional and cultural obstacles not only to the official justice system but also to cause lawyering. After establishing motives for screening clients, this article then demonstrates lawyers' screening methods: by defining legal reality in strategic and often misleading ways, lawyers use the law as a weapon against the interests of the individuals who seek their help.

Keywords: lawyers, legal profession, china, access to justice

JEL Classification: P20, P30

Not Available For Download

Date posted: November 20, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Michelson, Ethan, The Practice of Law as an Obstacle to Justice: Chinese Lawyers at Work. Law & Society Review, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 1-38, 2006. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=946031

Contact Information

Ethan Michelson (Contact Author)
Maurer School of Law ( email )
211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-856-1521 (Phone)
812-855-0781 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.indiana.edu/~emsoc/
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 671

© 2016 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollobot1 in 0.141 seconds