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Ole Hammerslev

Ole Hammerslev


Ole Hammerslev

Lawyers' pro bono work in Denmark


  • Annette Olesen
  • Ole Hammerslev


  • Scott Cummings
  • Fabio Costa Morais de Sa E Silva
  • Louise Trubek

Summary, in English

This chapter is based on a document analysis of 632 issues of the Danish Bar and Law Society’s trade magazine published from 1976-2018, and interviews with lawyers from the Scandinavian countries. The empirical findings concerning the structures and rationales dominating and defining the trajectory of lawyers’ voluntary work for the last four decades suggest that voluntary work targeted at those most in need has always been included in Danish lawyers’ narratives – but has however changed over time. Voluntary legal work was previously unsystematic and carried out tacitly as private affairs between local lawyers and clients. Concurrently with law firms began to merge in the 1980s and a reconfiguration of the universal welfare state simultaneously took place and placed a greater responsibility on the third sector’s voluntary work, legal voluntary work slowly changed. Inspired by Anglo-American law firms, the few new large law firms’ voluntary work became an enterprise based on branding strategies and CSR programs targeted at large organizations, communities and other potential business partners. The changing division of voluntary labor indirectly left solo practitioners and lawyers at small law offices to focus their voluntary work on mainly private clients and the grassroots tradition of ‘Lawyers on call’.


  • Department of Sociology of Law

Publishing year







Global Pro Bono: Causes, Consequences, and Contestation

Document type

Book chapter


Cambridge University Press


  • Law and Society




  • ISBN: 9781108476157