Transitional Legal Practice and Professional Ideology

This essay assumes that there are three other reasons for studying transnational legal practice. First, such a study provides a way to explore some of the dilemmas that we often overlook about our domestic legal system. In both the domestic and transnational legal settings we are uncomfortable with the idea of law as “merely a business”; troubled by the invasion of “legality” into domains that once had seemed immune from state regulation; wary of the expense of “mega” law and litigation; reticent about a “total justice” which is expected to compensate individual victims of every unpleasant social accident; and nervous about the “adversary system excuse” for taking positions with serious political implications. The Bhopal incident raises all these issues in a particularly remarkable setting. U.S. lawyers can to some extent “answer” the various concerns with responses taken from domestic legal practice. However, suggestions that the Bhopal affair represents the status quo in U.S. lawyering are unlikely to placate most critics.