In Focus

Globalization, Lawyers, and Emerging Economies: The Case of Brazil

In the 1990s Brazil and other emerging economies went through a major transformation. Closed economies were opened, foreign investment encouraged, and many state-owned enterprises privatized. This “global transformation” had a major impact on the Brazilian legal system.

While many parts of the legal system were affected, the corporate law profession changed the most. This sector includes all the institutions and actors that provide legal advice to corporations whether domestic and foreign, public or private. Global transformation brought about major changes in the national political economy, led to a flood of new laws governing corporate activity, and created a demand for new kinds of legal services to help companies manage the new legal environment. This led to rapid growth of the complex of institutions that provide corporate legal services and affected the way lawyering was practiced and organized. Many forces came together to give new shape to the professional identity of lawyers, the structures they work in, and the roles they play. The result was the creation of a new and powerful segment of the legal profession whose activities had profound impacts on the rest of the profession, the legal system, the operation of enterprises (both public and private), state policy and global governance.

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