Race, Ethnicity, and the Legal Profession

Hilary Sommerlad, Angela Melville, Lisa Hanson, Sameer Ashar, Meera Deo, Marijke ter Voert

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Hilary Sommerlad Angela Melville Lisa Hanson Sameer Ashar Meera Deo Marijke Ter Voert Hilary Sommerlad The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has underlined the extent to which we inhabit a ‘racialised  … world in which material and symbolic resources continue to be deeply unequally distributed’ (Hall 2006) . BLM has also highlighted the pivotal role of law generally, not just the criminal justice system, in producing and sustaining that racialised world (Akbar 2018; Butler 2016: 1458–66) . Law’s conceptual categories and schema inform the construction, communication, and interpretation of social relations (Silbey 2005) , enacting and legitimating the unequal distribution of material and symbolic resources. Yet the law is also a site of struggle and source of the tools for challenging archetypal cultural categories – while determining the terms of contestation (Merry 1995: 20) . This double-sided and hence indeterminate character of law, which operates on an ‘ethical, emotional or...
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLawyers in 21st Century Societies
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 2: Comparisons and Theories
Editors Richard L. Abel, Hilary Sommerlad, Ole Hammerslev, Ulrike Schultz
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherHart Publishers
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781509931224, 9781509931231
ISBN (Print)9781509931217
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Legal Profession
  • Black Lives Matter
  • political basis
  • Gender
  • Class


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