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Law in Action: The Legal Profession



Toegelaten tot HC Law


In this course, we will study the organization and behavior of the legal profession, mostly in western but also in non-western countries.
In the first part of the course, which focuses on organization, we will explore what the social composition of the legal profession – ethnic, gender, or religious make-up – looks like today, and how it has changed over time. In trying to explain these changes, we will consider issues such as access to law schools and selection processes of law firms and other legal institutions.
In the second part of the course, we will study the behavior of the legal profession. More specifically, we will examine how lawyers interact with clients, which cases they accept or neglect, and how they contribute to the litigiousness of society. Furthermore, we will explore how legal professionals – lawyers, prosecutors, and judges – deal with ethical dilemmas, and cope during and after periods of authoritarianism.

This course brings together law and the social sciences; it focuses on law in action. Most readings will accordingly be coming from the social sciences. This means that you will encounter methodological questions in this course. We will pick up these questions to sensitize you to social science methods, and help you further develop your analytical and critical reading skills.


At the end of the course, students should be able to summarize theories, compare theories, and use examples from the literature to illustrate these theories. Furthermore, students should be able to apply theories to actual cases. The theories pertain to the following subjects:
1. Changes in the organization of the legal profession
2. Differences between systems of legal education
3. Distinctions in the composition of legal institutions
4. Variation in interactions between lawyers and clients
5. The role of lawyers in the litigiousness of society
6. Decision-making by legal professionals in cases of ethical dilemmas
7. The functioning of legal professionals during and after authoritarianism



  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 6

  • Names of lecturers: Daniel Blocq

  • Required preparation by students: Students should read pre-assigned articles from academic journals.


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 6

  • Names of instructors: Daniel Blocq

  • Required preparation by students: Students should prepare questions and assignments for each meeting.


Examination form(s)_

  • Research paper (75% of final grade).

  • One oral presentation (10% of final grade).

  • Three short article reviews (15% of final grade).

In case only few students need to do the exam , the exam may be oral. In that case, students will be informed 10 days ahead of the scheduled date.

Areas to be tested within the exam

  • See course objectives.

Aanwezigheid en participatie verplicht.


Bij dit vak wordt gebruik gemaakt van Blackboard.

Literatuur (indien mogelijk, anders op Blackboard)

Obligatory course materials
Selected academic articles.

Course information guide:
Will be made available on Blackboard

All reading materials will be placed on Blackboard.


Hoorcolleges: woensdag 8 november t/m woensdag 13 december van 9-11 uur in zaal C104 Sterrewacht
Werkgroep 03: vrijdag 10 november t/m vrijdag 15 december van 15-17 uur


Aanmelden kan vanaf 9 oktober 2017 per email via het secretariaat van het Van Vollenhoven Instituut. De email moet worden gestuurd naar én (cc naar) met als onderwerp/subject “Aanmelding Law in Action, The Legal Profession Honours College Law”. Graag in de email naast je naam ook je studentnummer vermelden.

Dus niet voor het vak aanmelden via de reguliere uSis procedure; die inschrijving is bedoeld voor de reguliere keuzevakstudenten.

Aanmelden is niet vrijblijvend – het impliceert dat je ook echt het vak gaat volgen!

Maximum aantal deelnemers



  • Coordinator: Daniel Blocq

  • Work address: KOG, room B 3.18

  • Contact information: Secretariat of the Van Vollenhoven Institute

  • Telephone number: 003171 527 5252

  • Email:


  • Institute: Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society

  • Department: Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Law

  • Room number secretary: B.3.13

  • Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9.00-17.00

  • Telephone number secretary: +31 (0)71 527 7260

  • Email: