Interactional Justice explores how defence lawyers accomplish their role in interaction with others and highlights the ways in which they do loyalty work – constructing and conveying loyalty in emotionally and interactionally constraining situations.

By drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldnotes and interviews with lawyers, this sociological study brings their loyalty work to life and reveals to the reader the unwritten rules of emotional interactions. It presents how defence lawyers socially construct their duty of loyalty by negotiating informal and implicit professional and social expectations. This accomplishment demands emotion work and face work in order to perform a role which includes defending clients accused of heinous crimes and “losing” the majority of cases. As the defence team is central to this, the ways of doing teamwork are illustrated. Teamwork is also found to be essential between legal professionals to ensure that a criminal trial runs smoothly. All of this takes place within an overarching framework – the emotional regime of law – which aims to uphold the illusionary dichotomy between rationality and emotionality thus quietening the role of emotions.

Loyalty and teamwork are features of many professions, workplaces, and aspects of social life making this book an essential tool for understanding strategies for their accomplishment. Focusing on courtroom emotions and interactions, the book suggests how trials can be made more user-friendly and provides guidance for newly qualified legal professionals. The use of ethnographic fieldnotes and interviews provides scholars and students in the social sciences, teaching, law, and medicine with a colourful monograph which reveals and explains emotion and interaction rules. It also makes this book a useful tool for teaching and understanding qualitative research methods.

chapter 1|13 pages

Lawyers and loyalty

chapter 2|17 pages

Legal systems and loyalty

chapter 3|17 pages

The emotional courtroom

chapter 4|31 pages

Loyalty and disloyalty

chapter 5|38 pages

The facework of defence lawyers

chapter 6|33 pages

The emotion work of defence lawyers

chapter 7|35 pages

The teamwork of a criminal trial