Government Lawyers: Technicians, Policy Shapers and Organisational Brakes

Paper by Philip S.C. Lewis and Linda Mulcahy: “Government lawyers have been rather neglected by scholars interested in the workings of the legal profession and the role of professional groups in contemporary society. This is surprising given the potential for them to influence the internal workings of an increasingly legalistic and centralized state. This article aims to partly fill the gap left by looking at the way that lawyers employed by the government and the administrators they work with talk about their day to day practices. It draws on the findings of a large-scale empirical study of government lawyers in seven departments, funded by the ESRC. The study was undertaken between 2002-2003 by Philip Lewis, and is reported for the first time here. By looking at lawyers in bureaucracies the interviews conducted sought to explore what government lawyers do, how they talked about their work, and what distinguished them from the administrative grade clients and colleagues they worked with….(More)”.