The project on Globalization Lawyers and Emerging Economies—or GLEE—is designed to conduct original, empirical research and to examine how globalization is reshaping the market for legal services in important emerging economies around the world. At its core, the GLEE project begins with the decision by critical emerging economies like India, Brazil, and China to gradually open their economies during the 1990s, resulting for the first time in significant foreign investment, privatization of important state-owned assets, and an increased role for competitive market forces. This new economic activity in turn created a demand for new laws and legal institutions—for instance, investment and securities laws, trade and competition authorities—which then created a demand for “new” lawyers with both the skill and orientation to operate in these legal domains and to connect these domestic legal fields to the global ones within which these emerging powers operate and increasingly seek to control.
As a result of these changes, India and other emerging economies have seen the emergence of a new “corporate” legal sector consisting of large law firms and increasingly sophisticated in-house legal departments that together seek to meet the legal needs both of a burgeoning business sector and of the growing number of global companies that seek to serve the domestic market. GLEE maps the terrain of this emerging “corporate hemisphere” of the bar, and examines how this sector is influencing—and being influenced by—other parts of the legal, economic, political, and social order in these countries, including legal education, competing elites and priorities within the bar, regulation, development strategies, and approaches to access to justice and the rule of law.
GLEE studies how these developments are contributing to the transformation of the political economy in these countries and the broader world economy, the institutions of global governance, and the development of the increasingly globalized market for corporate legal services. The goal of the GLEE project is to understand these complex interactions and to shed light on the role that lawyers and legal institutions in India, China, Brazil, and other emerging economies have in shaping global governance in an increasingly multi-polar world.
Questions about the GLEE project can be directed to Bryon Fong.
GLEE’s theoretical project begins with the decision by the BICs to gradually open their economies during the 1990s, resulting for the first time in significant foreign investment, privatization of important state owned assets, and an increased role for competitive market forces. This new economic activity created a demand for new laws and legal institutions – e.g., investment and securities laws, trade and competition authorities – which in turn has created a demand for “new” lawyers with both the skill and orientation to operate in these legal domains, and to connect these domestic legal fields to the global ones in which the BICs and other emerging powers operate in and increasingly seek to control.
As a result of these changes, the BICs have seen the emergence of a new “corporate” legal sector consisting of “large” law firms and increasingly sophisticated in-house legal departments that together seek to meet the legal needs both of a burgeoning business sector and of the growing number of global companies that seek to serve the domestic market. Both indigenous and foreign law firms are trying to seize market opportunities. Governments strive to harness globalization to promote national development by engaging in legal reforms. A new generation of lawyers challenges traditional notions of legal practice and legal expertise. Legal education is modernizing. These efforts occur within a matrix of international and regional norms that help shape the contours of national law. Since globalization may produce vast inequalities, it also raises questions of corporate lawyers’ social responsibility.
In India, Brazil and China, too little detailed work has been done on their corporate legal sectors. More is needed if we are to understand the complex – and maybe even contradictory – roles corporate lawyers play in economic, political and social life. GLEE has sought to fill this gap by conducting systematic qualitative and quantitative empirical research. To map the corporate legal sector, trace its evolution, and assess its significance, GLEE has administered surveys and conducted interviews with many elite firms, in-house offices, legal educators, public interest advocates, government officials and others. GLEE has mapped the full range of providers of corporate legal services and explored their interaction. It has sought to understand the impact of the rise of the sector on the legal system as a whole. It has begun to explore the relationship between this sector and the state on one hand and the market on the other.
Specifically, current GLEE studies include:
In the next phase of the project we hope to compare the corporate legal sectors in Brazil, India and China, seeing to what extent they have developed models that differ from those in the North. We will look for differences and similarities in the stance of lawyers in these countries vis-à-vis clients and the state. We will ask to what extent have ideas of professionalism taken hold and what form have they taken. We hope to better understand the policy preferences of the new corporate lawyers and chart the role they are playing in law making and policy formation. We will look comparatively at legal education, seeing whether legal education is or is not changing and what factors explain different patterns. We will test whether pro bono activities by this sector are making a genuine contribution to providing access to justice. Finally, we will try to assess the overall contribution of the sector to the rule of law.
Corporate Counsel Survey
One of the most exciting new aspects of GLEE has been the development of a major survey of emerging economy general counsels. Developed over an intensive two-day academic meeting in Cambridge, the survey asks questions about the professional background and roles of general counsels of major Indian, Brazilian, and Chinese companies (as well as major US companies operating in those countries) and about how they make decisions about legal services. The survey will provide a direct pipeline into the minds of general counsels from across GLEE’s focus countries and generate a critical dataset on their views of the legal service industry. The data will help facilitate problem solving, foster innovation and highlight the practical advancements in the legal profession and in-house legal departments more directly.
The survey is a companion to CLP’s Corporate Purchasing Project such that comparisons with the US industry are possible. The survey is currently in the field in India and Brazil and will be launching shortly in China.
In the years since CLP launched GLEE, significant progress has been made achieving these ambitious goals. GLEE has held six major conferences across three continents, all of which have attracted hundreds of top policymakers, lawyers, practitioners, and academics. And GLEE has built strong relationships with universities and professionals from across its target countries and from around the world. Above all, GLEE has increased practical knowledge and advanced public understanding of the complex relationship between globalization, the legal profession, and emerging economies.
JUST IN: GLEE’s India and Brazil volumes published by Cambridge University Press
In conducting multinational, multidisciplinary empirical research like GLEE, it is imperative to have on-the-ground partners, and CLP is proud to collaborate with researchers from key universities and institutions in emerging economies. GLEE’s institutional partners include the University of Wisconsin Law School’s East Asian Legal Studies Center (EALSC), Direito GV, Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) Law School (Sao Paolo, Brazil) and the KoGuan Law School at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Beijing, China)
GLEE has more than 50 scholars from a broad range of disciplines, including law, sociology, political science, anthropology area studies, and from leading institutions in the United States, China, India, Brazil, Singapore and the United Kingdom. This team has conducted original empirical research through a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods on domestic and international law firms, corporate counsel, legal education, inbound and outbound investments, bankruptcy, regulation, pro bono and public interest lawyering, and legal capacity building. You can read more about individual team members on the country specific tabs above.
GLEE is directed by David B. Wilkins (HLS) and co-directed by David M. Trubek (HLS and Wisconsin-Madison). Derek Davis (HLS) and Bryon Fong (HLS) also serve on GLEE’s Executive Committee. Luciana Gross Cunha (FGV) serves as the Brazil Country Coordinator, with Vikramaditya S. Khanna (University of Michigan Law School) and Sida Lui (Wisconsin-Madison) serving as the India and China Country Coordinators respectively.
Questions about the GLEE project can be directed to Bryon Fong.
The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization: The Rise of the Corporate Legal Sector (David B. Wilkins, Vikramaditya S. Khanna and David M. Trubek, eds.) published by Cambridge University Press.
Since GLEE’s inception four years ago, a large percentage of its focus and research has been on the interaction between globalization and the legal profession in the Indian context. India’s recent impressive economic growth has been accompanied by substantial economic and legal reforms that have brought about seismic changes to the Indian corporate sector, legal system and the legal profession. Indeed, over the last two decades India’s lawyers have grappled with the changes wrought by globalization and liberalization against the background of the world’s largest and most heterogeneous democracy. The GLEE India research team is pursuing the first comprehensive set of studies examining the changes in the Indian corporate legal sector and its effects throughout the legal profession. This includes studying Indian and foreign law firms, in house counsel, legal process outsourcing, trade law capacity and capacity building, senior advocates, legal profession regulation, legal education, the role of gender, small town lawyers, diversity concerns, and pro bono and public interest lawyering. Using surveys, interviews, participant observation, and archival research, GLEE’s India research contributes to a richer and more textured understanding of the substantial changes to the corporate sector of the Indian legal profession as well as its relationship to the developments in the legal professions in Brazil, China, and other emerging economies.
Vikramaditya S. Khanna
GLEE India Country Coordinator
William W. Cook Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School
Affiliated Faculty Member, HLS Center on the Legal Profession
GLEE’s research in India has yielded over 20 high-quality academic papers which were recently published by Cambridge University Press in The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization: The Rise of the Corporate Legal Sector and its Impact on Lawyers and Society (David B. Wilkins, Vikramaditya S. Khanna and David M. Trubek, eds.)
Learn more here.
Vikramaditya S. Khanna, University of Michigan Law School (Country Coordinator; India Editor)
David B. Wilkins, Harvard Law School (GLEE Director; India Editor)
Amrita Bahri, Birmingham Law School
Swethaa Ballakrishnen, Stanford University
John Flood, UCD Sutherland School of Law
Marc Galanter, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jonathan Gingerich, UCLA
Arpita Gupta, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jayanth K. Krishnan, Indiana University – Bloomington
C. Raj Kumar, Jindal Global Law School
Pavan Mamidi, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad
Ashish Nanda, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad
James Nedumpara, Jindal Global Law School
Mihaela Papa, Tufts University
Nick Robinson, Harvard Law School
Gregory Shaffer, University of California-Irvine
Aditya Singh, White & Case
Rahul Singh, Oxford University
Aseema Sinha, Claremont McKenna
Umakanth Varottil, National University of Singapore
Mark Wu, Harvard Law School
Bhargavi Zaveri, Harvard Law School
The Brazilian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization: The Rise of the Corporate Legal Sector (Luciana Gross Cunha, Daniella Gabby, Jose Gracez Ghirardi, David M. Trubek and David B. Wilkins, eds.) published by Cambridge University Press.
This book provides the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of globalization on the Brazilian legal profession.Employing a range of original data from nine empirical studies, the book details how Brazil’s need to restructure the economy and manage its global relationships contributed to the emergence of a new “corporate legal sector” in the country—a sector marked by increasingly large and sophistical law firms and in-house legal departments. As the book’s authors demonstrate, this new corporate legal sector in turn helped reshape other parts of the Brazilian legal profession, including legal education, pro bono practices, the regulation of legal services, gender dynamics in the profession, and the state’s legal capacity in international economic law. This book, which is the second in a series on Globalization, Lawyers, and Emerging Economies, will be of interest to academics, lawyers, and policymakers concerned with the critical role that a rapidly globalizing legal profession is playing in the legal, political, and economic development of important emerging economies like Brazil, and how these countries are integrating into the institutions of global governance and the overall market for legal services.
GLEE’s research in Brazil represent the most extensive work done to date on the intersection between the Brazilian legal profession and globalization. The research covers GLEE’s core topic areas including: law firms, in-house counsel, gender and the profession, legal education, legal capacity building, regulation of the profession, public interest, and political economy.
GLEE’s research in Brazil is forthcoming (Winter 2017) in The Brazilian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization: The Rise of the Corporate Legal Sector and its Impact on Lawyers and Society (Luciana Gross Cunha, Daniella Gabby, Jose Gracez Ghirardi, David M. Trubek and David B. Wilkins, eds.) to be published by Cambridge University Press.
Luciana Gross Cuhna, FGV Law School (Country Coordinator; Brazil Editor)
David M. Trubek, Harvard Law School (GLEE Co-Director; Brazil Editor)
Frederico de Almeida, FGV Law School
Glória Bonelli, UFSCAR
Vitor Martin Dias, FGV Law School
Daniela Gabbay, FGV Law School
Jose Garcez Ghirardi, FGV Law School
Rubens Glezer, FGV Law School
Paulo André Nassar, FGV Law School
Fabiana Luci de Oliveira, UFSCAR
Luciana Oliveira Ramos, FGV Law School
Ligia Pinto Sica, FGV Law School
Fábio de Sá e Silva, IPEA, Harvard Law School
The GLEE project’s China research team is a consortium of researchers from several leading universities and law firms in both China and the United States, with Shanghai Jiao Tong University KoGuan Law School as the main institutional partner. With China’s modernizing legal system and the increasingly important roles that Chinese companies play in the global economy, Chinese lawyers face both strong challenges and great opportunities in the age of globalization. GLEE China research is the first comprehensive empirical study that examines all sectors of the Chinese corporate legal market, including domestic and international elite law firms, corporate counsel, legal education, inbound and outbound investments, and public interest lawyering. Using diverse social science methods such as survey, interviews, participant observation, and archival research, GLEE China researchers hope to contribute, individually and collectively, to the understanding of the historical change, current status, and future prospects of the corporate sector of the Chinese legal profession, as well as its relationship to legal professions in India, Brazil, and other emerging economies.
GLEE China Team Coordinator
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Law, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Interim Director, East Asian Legal Studies Center
Faculty Fellow, American Bar Foundation
GLEE’s research in China represent the most extensive work done to date on the intersection between the Chinese legal profession and globalization. The research covers GLEE’s core topic areas including: law firms, in-house counsel, legal education, legal capacity building, regulation of the profession, public interest, and political economy.
Sida Liu, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Country Coordinator; China Editor)
David B. Wilkins, Harvard Law School (GLEE Director; China Editor)
Jin Dong, SUNY Buffalo
Henry Gao, Singapore Management University
Su Li, University of California, Berkeley
Xueyao Li, KoGuan School of Law, Shanghai Jiao Tong
Tiezheng Li, Harvard Law School
John Ohnesorge, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Gregory Shaffer, University of California, Irvine
Rachel Stern, University of California, Berkeley
Paul Wang, Zhong Lun Law Firm, Beijing Office
Zhizhou Wang, University of Wisconsin
Hongqi Wu, China University of Political Science and Law
Ke Xu, University of International Business and Economics
As a result of the GLEE project, the Center is now universally considered to be the preeminent research institution studying the global legal profession. With the publication or soon to be publication of books on India, Brazil, and China (all by Cambridge University Press), the first phase of the GLEE project is nearing completion. We believe that the best way to build on this legacy of success is to bring the GLEE project to Africa.
We have chosen to bring GLEE to Africa because of what we see as the region’s unique importance and the Center’s comparative advantage in completing research in this area. According to the IMF, by 2050, Africa and the Middle East could comprise more than 20% of global GDP. Indeed, several countries in sub-Saharan Africa are already among the fastest growing in the world, with rapidly expanding middle-class populations driving demand for 21-century consumer products like cell phones and mobile banking, in addition to the continued evolution of traditional export-driven industries focused on the continent’s abundant natural resources. As a result, many countries in this region are developing a new corporate legal sector, including increasingly large and sophisticated law firms and in-house legal departments. Yet, there is very little systematic information about how this sector is developing, and how it is likely to affect the ability of multinational companies and other transnational actors to work with institutions to help countries within the region develop the stable legal institutions essential to the continent’s economic, political, and social development.
The Center is also uniquely positioned to fill in this knowledge gap. In addition to having almost a decade of experience in putting projects of this kind together, our experience in India, Brazil, and China is directly relevant to the work that needs to be done in Africa. All three of these emerging economies have significant connections to—and interests in—Africa. As a result, we will be able to explore the growing “South-South” axis that is likely to play a key role in defining the multipolar world of the 21st century.
Understanding how this process is unfolding will be even more difficult in the African context than it was in India, Brazil, and China. Africa is, of course, a continent not a country. Even in sub-Saharan Africa there is considerable linguistic, social, economic, political, and historical diversity among countries. Nevertheless, given our work in India, Brazil, and China—and the increasing importance of South-South exchange among these rising powers and between each of them and Africa—as well as our extensive experience in researching changes in the U.S. legal market, the core GLEE team is uniquely positioned to take up this challenge. We will only be able to do so, however, if we can collaborate with key institutional stakeholders that have the in-depth knowledge of the region gained through many years of doing business on the ground. Indeed, given our reputation for excellence in this area, we have already identified several such individual and institutional partners. We have also begun to identify important “deliverables,” regarding knowledge production, conferences, and capacity building for legal professionals and policymakers within many of the critical African jurisdiction that hope to do research. However, we need your help and are currently building the research team, so please let us know if you want to get involved!
To learn more about our GLEE Africa project and to see a summary of a recent conference that the Center hosted in collaboration with Strathmore University Law School in Kenya in December 2020, click here.
To be published in the Harvard International Law Journal – Spring/Summer 2020
Beginning in the 1990s, India, Brazil, and China have each developed a distinct corporate legal “ecosystem,” comprised of new (or newly repurposed) domestic “corporate” law firms, foreign law firms competing (on the ground or virtually) to serve both foreign and domestic clients, general counsel offices of both domestic and multinational companies, and law schools either designed or retooled to supply lawyers qualified to practice corporate law. In this Article, we utilize data from an unprecedented set of empirical studies to document the rise of this new corporate ecosystem in these three important emerging economies, and to develop grounded theory about the forces that have produced this transformation, and that help to explain differences among the three jurisdictions. Specifically, we argue that differences in what we call the “micro-level gearing” in the relative importance of the three key elements in the corporate legal ecosystems that have developed in India, Brazil, and China – law firms, clients, and legal education – can be explained, in part, by differences in what we will call the “macro-level gearing” in the relative power of the state, the market, and the bar – both between all three countries and the United States, and among the three jurisdictions. This difference has been most pronounced in China, where the dominance of the “state gear” in shaping the corporate legal market contrasts sharply with both the U.S. “market” driven model, and the influence of the “bar” in shaping the micro-level corporate ecosystems in India and Brazil. We conclude by offering some tentative thoughts about the implications of our findings for a rapidly globalizing corporate legal services market in which a growing number of states are beginning to exert greater control at the macro-level.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. She is a Nonresident Senior Fellow of the Center on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School; Nonresident Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Women and Public Policy Program (2019-2020). She is the former Vice President of South Africa.
Rangita de Silva de Alwis Associate Dean of International Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Center on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School and Nonresident Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Women and Public Policy Program (2019-2020).
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