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Abstract

In the last two decades, as states, international institutions, and private

donors invested heavily in the rule of law and human rights, lawyers

gained a prominent place in transnational projects to reform domestic

laws and institutions. As the U.S. legal profession moves into this global

arena, we should pause to consider the ethical questions raised by the

practices of "global justice lawyering." Broadly conceived, two questions

govern this inquiry: (1) What ethical justifications support the U.S.

lawyer's role in reforming the laws and political institutions of other

societies? (2) Even if we can justify this role in theory, can we justify the

particular practices of global justice lawyers?

To answer the first question, I draw on the ethical doctrine of

cosmopolitanism, as well as the U.S. legal profession's commitments to

the rule of law and reformative justice, to conclude that there are strong

ethical reasons to promote global justice. These reasons do not, however,

justify promotion by any means. This is the dilemma of the cosmopolitan

lawyer: the cosmopolitan project of global justice - although morally

justified in theory - presents ethical questions in practice. In the final

section of the Article, I suggest that to avoid ethical concerns, global

justice lawyers must reject an "import" approach to law, in which foreign

laws and institutions are transplanted into new environments, in favor of

a normative approach to the processes of lawmaking.

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