Legal Intermediaries in Organizations: The Active and Moral Dimensions of Compliance Process

John W. Cioffi
Session Organizer:
Jerome Pelisse
Friday, June 24, 2016: 4:15 PM-5:45 PM
119 Moses (Moses Hall)
Legal intermediaries is today an emergent theoretical notion developed to catch the importance of actors who contribute to legal endogeneization processes. In a context framed by many researches underlining the importance of such intermediaries in various domains (economy and organization, labor and profession but also arts, sports, politics…) or even in more general framework (as the actor’s network theory), the role of legal intermediaries is today a major key to analyze the juridification or judicialization process, that many scholars point out and question since a decade or more, in France as in US or elsewhere.
Crossing neo-institutionnal approaches of organization and sociolegal studies, many researchers as L. Edelman, M. Suchman, R. Stryker and others, analyze the process of endogeneisation of law and legal rules by and into the organizations, showing how law and organization interacts to build new forms of legality at workplace and in economic interactions.
To understand these processes, the role of legal intermediaries is today crucial, if we define them not only by their belonging to legal professions. Street-level bureaucrats are such well-known actors, but the category must be extended to human resource and unions members, in-house counsel, some activists, compliance professionals, inspectors or auditors, safety officers or insurers, and all these actors who daily handle in their activities legal categories and provisions, even if they are not legal professionnals. It is thus necessary to deepen our understanding of this actors, their constraints and opportunities, their training and legal consciousness and how they contribute to managerialize the law and legalize the organization, how they finally weight on the ordinary legality, which frame our daily world and contribute to our mobilization of legal rules or not.
The purpose of this panel is to elaborate, compare and confront various empirical researches based on the notion of legal intermediaries. More precisely, the discussion would be organized around the idea that these legal intermediaries are and act as moral actors in the domain of economic and labor relations. How legal intermediaries interpret the legal rules, qualify the situations and frame legality and legal consciousnesses? How do they frame moral conceptions of what is fair and unfair, legal and illegal, legally mobilizable or not? How do they contribute to the delineation of practical, moral and legal categories used in our daily life, when we are contracting insurances, buying foods in supermarket, hiring people, taking or according vacation or aiming at working in safe conditions?
Legal Intermediaries As Moral Actors
Jerome Pelisse, CSO Sciences Po CNRS