Pro Bono as an Elite Strategy in Early Lawyer Careers

31 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2008

See all articles by Ronit Dinovitzer

Ronit Dinovitzer

University of Toronto; American Bar Foundation

Bryant Garth

University of California, Irvine School of Law; American Bar Foundation

Date Written: October 29, 2008

Abstract

This chapter will appear in the forthcoming book edited by Robert Granfield and Lynn Mather entitled Private Lawyers and the Public Interest: The Evolving Role of Pro Bono in the Legal Profession (Oxford University Press 2009). Drawing on the sociological theory of Pierre Bourdieu and data from the first wave of the After the J.D. Project, the chapter examines the way that pro bono reflects and reinforces professional hierarchies evident also in the construction of legal careers. Taking as a starting point Bourdieu's work on the "interest in disinterestedness," this chapter examines the social distribution of pro bono service by looking at the backgrounds of pro bono practitioners and their work settings. We also investigate the relationship between pro bono work and job satisfaction, finding that there is indeed a symbolic and tangible value to disinterestedness. Finally, the chapter also finds that orientations and dispositions towards pro bono work themselves reflect and reinforce the hierarchy of the profession.

Keywords: legal profession, pro bono, lawyer careers

Suggested Citation

Dinovitzer, Ronit and Garth, Bryant, Pro Bono as an Elite Strategy in Early Lawyer Careers (October 29, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1291998 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1291998

Ronit Dinovitzer (Contact Author)

University of Toronto ( email )

Department of Sociology
Toronto, Ontario
Canada

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Bryant Garth

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States
949-824-7230 (Phone)
949-824-0495 (Fax)

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-988-6575 (Phone)
312-988-6579 (Fax)

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