The Loyal Defense Lawyer

The Edward Elgar Research Handbook on Law and Emotions, Forthcoming

15 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2020

See all articles by Lisa Flower

Lisa Flower

Lund University - Department of Sociology

Date Written: August 17, 2020


The work of defense lawyers entails managing emotions to ensure that they remain appropriate to the situation – whether that be a criminal trial or the law offices. This demands emotional dexterity and interactional skill, not least due to the particular role of defense lawyers who work closely with clients, view gruesome evidence and who often face moral suspicion. This chapter explores the various emotions at play in defense lawyers’ role accomplishment, with particular focus on how they perform the guiding principle for their legal position, namely loyalty. All of this is made more challenging for defense lawyers as they must ensure that their performances remain suitable to the invisible regime of law which attempts to sustain an illusionary dichotomy between rationality and professionalism on the one hand, and emotionality on the other. In this chapter the ways in which defense lawyers in Sweden manage their emotions to loyally represent their clients are therefore shown by presenting interview material from lawyers and ethnographic fieldnotes from criminal trials.

Keywords: Loyalty, defense lawyers, dirty work, disloyalt, ethnography, emotional regime of law

Suggested Citation

Flower, Lisa, The Loyal Defense Lawyer (August 17, 2020). The Edward Elgar Research Handbook on Law and Emotions, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Lisa Flower (Contact Author)

Lund University - Department of Sociology ( email )


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