Most existing research examining the effects of New Public Management (NPM) on professional groups within the government concentrates on the introduction of market-oriented methods into public structures. Few of them, however, question the cause of capitalist organizations acting as public service providers. By studying the legal advice that multinational law firms provide free of charge to NGOs and private citizens—commonly referred to as pro bono work—this article highlights the significant role these private firms play (in the United States and increasingly in France) in providing access to justice for those who cannot afford legal counsel. Drawing on a comparative survey combining interviews, observations, as well as the use of corporate documents, the author describes how, by prioritizing consensual cases that do not jeopardize their commercial interests, these firms select their pro bono cases, and considers the effects of such choices for the people who benefit from these services.
- Pro bono
- law firms
- France-United States comparison
- access to justice
- New Public Management