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.
Roesler, Shannon M.
"The Ethics of Global Justice Lawyering,"
Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal: Vol. 13
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yhrdlj/vol13/iss1/3