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Political Activism and the Practice of Law in Venezuela
Faculty Books
  • Manuel A. Gomez, Florida International University College of Law
In spite of the traditional involvement of Venezuelan lawyers in the country's social, political and economic life (Perez-Perdomo 1981, 1990, 2006) and their historic role as nation builders, social entrepreneurs and power brokers (Gomez 2008, 2009), the practice of law in Venezuela was largely traditional until the early 1990s. Venezuelan lawyers generally used their legal expertise, tools and resources without commitments to an ideological or social cause (Sarat and Scheingold 2001), and did not rely on litigation as a form of "moral activism" (Sarat and Scheingold 1998). Cause lawyering emerged during the postdictatorship transition in other Latin American countries (Meili 2001: 307); in Venezuela, cause lawyering began to develop during a period of political and social instability and gained even more salience during a decade of radical change in Venezuela's social, political, a1;1d economic institutions. Specific events in Venezuela during the last twenty years define three different stages in the emergence and transformation of cause lawyering and human rights activism and in the growing involvement oflawyers in the country's political debate. Each of these three stages corresponds to important changes in the conception lawyers have about their role. Each stage also corresponds to changes in the image that other actors have about members of the legal profession and their role in society.
Publication Date
Cambridge University Press
  • Courts,
  • Justice,
  • Administration of,
  • Law,
  • Latin America,
  • Philosophy,
  • Venezuela,
  • Venezuelan lawyers
Citation Information

Manuel A. Gómez, Political Activism and The Practice of Law in Venezuela, in CULTURES OF LEGALITY: JUDICIALIZATION AND POLITICAL ACTIVISM IN LATIN AMERICA, (Javier A. Couso, Alexandra Huneeus and Rachel Sieder eds., 2010).