Tamara Butter is an Assistant Professor at the Law Faculty’s Jurisprudence department, specialised in the sociology of legal ethics. Her research focusses on lawyers’ ethics, in particular, their moral reasoning and ethical dispositions in different contexts. She is particularly interested in exploring this empirically from the perspective of the lawyers themselves: How do they view their role? What do they consider ‘ethical’? How do they interpret and balance the different interest at play in their practice?
Her dissertation concerned an empirical socio-legal study on the professional ethics of asylum legal aid lawyers in the Netherlands and England (Eleven International Publishing 2018). In her present and future research, she examines Dutch lawyers’ ethics in other practice areas, including corporate- and family law practice. This is, in part, made possible by the grants she obtained from the UvA Methods and Interdisciplinary and Multi-disciplinary Research Fund.
Tamara Butter is a board member of the Amsterdam Centre on the Legal Professions and Access to Justice (ACLPA) and a member of the Center for Law and Behavior (C-LAB). She also chairs the Legal Ethics subgroup of the RCSL Working Group for the Comparative Studies of the Legal Professions and is involved as a co-editor in an international book-project entitled ‘Research Handbook on the Sociology of Legal Ethics’ (Elgar).
Tamara co-developed and coordinates the master course Lawyers and Legal Ethics (Advocatuur en beroepsethiek) and also teaches several courses in the bachelor programme, such as Law and Human Behaviour (Recht en menselijk gedrag) and Foundations of Law (Grondslagen van het recht).
Part of her PhD research was conducted at the Centre for the Study of Legal Professional Practice at City University London. In 2014 she was awarded the Frye Stipendium Prize for promising female PhD candidates. This grant allowed for her stay as a visiting scholar at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago. Her paper entitled: ‘Ethics in Practice in Asylum Law: Asylum Legal Aid Lawyers’ Moral Reasoning in respect of ‘Hopeless Cases’’ received a ‘Honorable Mention’ for the IAOLE Deborah Rhode Prize 2022.
She obtained her PhD from the Radboud University and holds an LL.M in both Public International- and European Law from the University of Amsterdam and an LL.B from Maastricht University.