Young business lawyers on the move: reflections about the impact of globalization on individuals' professional pathways
2017 International Meeting on Law and Society
There is a strong field of research dedicated to the impacts of globalization at macro and meso levels but less about the impact on individuals, their expectations and social trajectories. The research project is focused on the phenomenon of transnational of labor and the formation of translocal communities and identities (Sassen, 2006), in particular new transnational professions as business lawyers working in large law firms with offices in different countries around the world (Galanter e Henderson, 2008), (Dezalay e Sugarman, 1995). We believe that the Portuguese case as some interest to the global community since we are talking about a small country in the European Union with strong cultural and economic relations with Africa and Brazil acting as a bridge on international relations between the North and the South. The debt crisis (2011-2014) highlighted the economic and social problems of the country and the financial assistance program accelerated the introduction of neoliberal policies, in particular privatization of state companies and the reshape of the economic structure now based on exports and entrepreneurship. Big law firms and their lawyers had an important role in these transformations. Looking at young business lawyers' professional pathways we intend with this paper to contribute to the discussion of the impacts of globalization at an individual scale. In order to accomplish our objectives, we formulated three research questions: How individuals adhere to globalization and neoliberal values? How do they inculcate those values on their ordinary lives? How they appropriate those values at a professional level? The young lawyers were selected in two phases: first, we selected the Portuguese law firms based in cumulative criteria such as: i) internationalization; existence of partners worldwide; existence of clients from multinational corporations, and then we created a dataset of young lawyers CV's. Using a qualitative methodology based on life histories interviews we intend to analyse professional pathways and the importance of socialization as an ongoing process, in particular by examining how traineeship programs can be seen as a crucial moment in the inculcation of professional values and beliefs about the profession. The life stories were analysed in four major dimensions: emotions, reflexivity, practices and identities and covers in particular the educational pathway and the entrance in the profession.
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