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.
GLEE examines how globalization is reshaping the market for legal services in important emerging economies and how these developments are contributing to reshaping of the global legal services market.
As a result of these changes, India, Brazil, China, 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.
GLEE’s Four Key Questions
- How have U.S. models of corporate legal practice shaped development of a new corporate legal “ecosystem” in each country, and what factors have contributed to this process?
- How has each country’s unique political, economic, professional, and social environment shaped these global transplants and the corporate ecosystem generally to produce distinctly indigenous institutions and practices?
- How is this new corporate ecosystem influencing developments in other sectors of the legal profession, e.g., legal education and professional regulation?
- How is it transforming each country’s economic, political, and social development and growing influence in the world?
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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-depth study of the evolution of the elite firms and GC offices using interviews, published data, and surveys. These studies look at many issues from organization form to gender relations
- Examination of the regulatory regime affecting corporate lawyers with special attention to rules affecting foreign lawyers
- Studies of how cross border transactions are handled and the special role of foreign law firms in these markets
- Assessment of the efforts by Brazil, India and China to strengthen their capacity to engage in global legal forums in the trade and investment fields and use domestic trade remedy law to affect trade relations
- A review of the impact the rise of the corporate legal sector has on legal education
- A review of the role of the new corporate law sector in law making and policy implementation and how this relates to national development goals
- Studies of the spread of pro bono and ideas about corporate social responsibility in Emerging Economies and the impact of such programs on access to justice and public interest representation.
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.
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.
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.
Project and Country Leads
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