Document Type


Publication Date



Women lawyers are increasing seen among the leading legal defenders of human rights and social movements in Thailand. Increasing visibility is partly a result of news coverage and social media, but women lawyers activism has far older roots. In this article, we examine two related processes of change that contribute to women’s emergence as leading social cause practitioners. First, we discuss the relationship between Thailand’s legal system and its social and political development since the end of the nineteenth century. Second, we employ career narratives of three women lawyers with innovative practices for social causes as a lens through which to examine how lawyers transform available resources into an identity, law practice, and law. We discuss not only the role of prior generations of women lawyers, connections between influential elites and social cause lawyers, and the founding of a few key organizations within the NGO community, but also the role of the women as architects of their own careers. We conclude that they have become successful by aligning their practices with emerging social movements and progressive bureaucrats, unexpectedly creating professional identities with somewhat different relationships to the rule of law.


Vol. 1 No. - (2021): Thai Legal Studies: The Inaugural Issue Authors retain copyright and publishing rights without restrictions but grant Thai Legal Studies (TLS) the right of first publication in English. Authors also grant TLS a license to publish and distribute the work under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License that allows others to share the work, including the making of further translations, provided that an acknowledgement is given of the work’s authorship and its initial publication in English by Thai Legal Studies.