Pro Bono as an Elite Strategy in Early Lawyer Careers
31 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2008
Date Written: October 29, 2008
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
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