Varieties of Legal Intermediaries: When Non-Legal Professionals Act as Legal Intermediaries
Studies in Law, Politics, and Society
101 - 128 p.
Legal intermediaries, legal consciousness, professions, legal endogeneity, France, labor, economy
Legal intermediation is an emerging theoretical concept developed to grasp the importance of the process and actors who contribute to legal endogenization, in particular in the field of economic activities and work governed by various public regulations. This chapter proposes to extend the analytical category of legal intermediary to all actors who, even if they are not legal professionals, deal on a daily basis with legal categories and provisions. In order to deepen our understanding of these actors and their contribution to how organizations frame legality, this chapter investigates four examples of legal intermediaries who are not legal professionals. Based on field surveys conducted over the past 15 years in France on employment policy, industrial relations, occupational health and safety regulation, and forensic economics, I make three contributions. First, the cases show the diversity of legal intermediaries and their growing and increasingly reflexive roles in our complex economies. Second, while they are not legal professionals per se, to different degrees, these legal intermediaries assume roles similar to those of legal professionals such as legislators, judges, lawyers, inspectors, cops, and even clerks. Finally, depending on their level of legitimacy and power, I show how legal intermediaries take part in the process of legal endogenization and how they more broadly frame ordinary legality.