After 12 years involved in the legal profession as a public prosecutor in Rio de Janeiro, coming to the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies in 2012 provided me with the unique opportunity of being detached from practice to pursue a DPhil on collective action for consumer protection. Following 2 years of intensive work in refining my project and reviewing the relevant academic literature on the U.S. Class Actions, E.U. Collective Redress, and L.A. Civic-Public Action, I went back to Brazil in the summer of 2014 for a series of 21 interviews with relevant legal actors. I interviewed members of the Attorney General’s Office, public defenders, state attorneys, company lawyers, consumer association directors, and ombudsmen.

In my particular case, the fieldwork for empirical research was actually the professional field in which I had previously practiced as a public prosecutor. Interestingly, this experience of conducting empirical research gave me the opportunity of asking detailed questions about the internal operations of my own legal system, its economic rationale, democratic character, and political stakes. For instance, I interviewed a former colleague for 5 hours and learned a lot from someone with whom I had worked for a couple of years in the same team. Switching from ‘involvement’ to ‘detachment’ (Elias, 1956) made a huge difference in my comprehension of this field of study and work. While at CSLS, we may benefit a lot from interdisciplinary research projects to reflect on law in society.