Document Type




Format of Original

29 p.

Publication Date

Winter 2015



Source Publication

Law & Social Inquiry

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.1111/lsi.12094


Scholars of legal mobilization have long explored how litigation is used as a resource for social and political change. While most studies focus on the actions of private groups, this article considers law enforcement as a form of legal mobilization. Employing a case study of recent pharmaceutical litigation, this article examines how prosecutors have mobilized the law to reshape corporate responsibilities in the prescription drug industry. Prosecutors' litigation campaigns have forced changes in organizational practices, expanded the scope of the conflict over pharmaceutical industry actions, and established new legal norms that have spread throughout the political system. This form of prosecutor-led legal mobilization has occurred in other contexts as well, including gun control and mortgage lending. In addition to indicating how lawyers within the state can engage in a form of cause lawyering, the government litigation explored in this article illustrates both the instrumental and constitutive power of the law.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: "Law Enforcement as Legal Mobilization: Reforming the Pharmaceutical Industry Through Government Litigation," Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Winter 2015): 123-151, which has been published in final form here: DOI. © 2015 Wiley. Used with permission. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.