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Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-15-2020

Publication Citation

27 Indiana J. Global Legal Studies 131 (2020)

Abstract

In Part I, I present the elements that form the standard global concept of pro bono work. Pro bono work is a global phenomenon defined by, and based on, a transnational discourse. In the first section of Part I, I argue that this transnational discourse conceptualizes pro bono work as a set of institutionalized free legal services that lawyers voluntarily provide to people with few financial resources or to protect the public interest. In the three following sections, I specify and analyze the concepts of subject, time, and space that this understanding of pro bono work creates, to present the categories that structure the discourse on pro bono work and contribute to the creation of part of the modern legal and political imagination. In the final section of Part I, I present and analyze the conceptual oppositions that structure the discourse on pro bono work and contribute to the creation of the concepts of subject, time, and space that support its conceptual apparatus.

In Part II, in the first section, I argue that the pro bono discourse and practices in Argentina, Chile, and Colombia are the result of a legal transplant between the legal mandarins of North and South America. The Argentinian, Chilean, and Colombian legal elites import this set of practices and theories; the US legal elites export them. In the second section of Part II, I explore the reasons for the exchange of pro bono knowledge. In the third section, I present and analyze the role that clients and the state have in pro bono, as well as the local interpretations and variations of the transplantation that are emerging.

Finally, in the last section, I explain why this knowledge still has not fused into stable institutions and practices in the importing legal communities. This legal transplantation has not taken root in the private spheres of the importing liberal states, and has had a minor impact on the realization of the right of access to justice.

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