Fabio de Sa e Silva is Assistant Professor of International Studies and Wick Cary Professor of Brazilian Studies at the University of Oklahoma and an affiliated fellow of Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession. He studies the social organization and the political impact of law and justice in Brazil and comparatively. An institution builder, Fabio co-directs the OU Center for Brazil Studies, is a member of the Executive Committee of the Brazilian Studies Association, and a Trustee of the Law and Society Association (LSA), Class of 2023. In 2018, he was recognized as the Outstanding Faculty at the Department.
Fabio has a multidisciplinary background with training in law, social sciences, and public policy. He holds a BA in legal studies from the University of Sao Paulo, where he received a prestigious CAPES fellowship for studies in law and society. He also attained a Master of Laws at the University of Brasilia Law School and a PhD in Law, Policy, and Society at Northeastern University as a CAPES-Fulbright fellow.
Fabio also brings to OU a diversified professional experience. In addition to his previous academic studies and appointments, he has over 15 years of experience in policy making and analysis in issues of law and justice in Brazil, where he served at the Ministry of Justice and the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) and consulted for international organizations like the UNDP, Unesco and the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI).
Fabio writes and publishes in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. His article From Carwash to Bolsonaro examines the “political grammar” produced and disseminated by Brazilian legal officers in the lava jato anticorruption initiative and has received extensive media coverage in Brazil in outlets like DW, UOL, CONJUR, and Reinaldo Azevedo’s blog and radio show. Currently, Fabio is one of the organizers of the Project on Autocratic Legalism (PAL), an LSA International Research Collaborative that is designing comparative research on how rising autocrats in Brazil, India and South Africa use law to amass power and what can be done to stop their moves. In this capacity, he also hosts the PAL Cast, a podcast series where he interviews lead scholars on law and (un)democratic politics.
Fabio is married to Michelle, lives in Norman with his two young kids, Joao Pedro, and Manuela, and usually spends summers in Brasilia, Brazil to catch up with family, friends, and the Brazilian political scene.
- Law and Globalization
- Modern Brazil
- Courts and Policy
- Understanding the Global Community
- Democratic Decline in Global Perspective
Recent and representative publications:
- Global Pro Bono: Causes, Organization, Consequences (edited with Scott L. Cummings and Louise G. Trubek). New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022, https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/global-pro-bono/20F4BA648EA588AD32A664E9D4B0939E
- What is Global Pro Bono About? (With Scott L. Cummings and Louise G. Trubek). In: Scott L. Cummings, Fabio de Sa e Silva, and Louise G. Trubek, Eds., Global Pro Bono: Causes, Organization, Consequences. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022.
- Private Law Practice and the Public Good: Pro Bono’s Institutionalization in São Paulo Law Firms. In: Scott L. Cummings, Fabio de Sa e Silva, and Louise G. Trubek, Eds., Global Pro Bono: Causes, Organization, Consequences. NY: Cambridge University Press, 2022.
- Autocratic legalism: Law and Democratic Erosion in Brazil (coedited with Oscar Vilhena Vieira, Marta Machado, and Raquel Pimenta). Portuguese version by FGV University Press (São Paulo, 2022); English version to be published by the Woodrow Wilson Center (Washington DC, 2022).
- Law and Illiberalism: A Sociolegal Review and Research Agenda. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 2022.
- Views of restrictive measures among Brazilian lawyers during the covid-19 outbreak: an exploratory analysis from rapid research. Brazilian Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 2022.
- The environment, human rights, and democracy in Brazil under Bolsonaro: dispatches from an academic symposium (with Michelle Morais de Sa e Silva). Revista Videre 28(13), Special Issue: The environment, human rights, and democracy in Brazil under Bolsonaro, 2021, https://doi.org/10.30612/videre.v13i28.15490
- “A little more complex”: pro bono commitment in São Paulo corporate law firms. International Journal of the Legal Profession, 2021 available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/09695958.2020.1775602
- From Car Wash to Bolsonaro: Law and Lawyers in Brazil's Illiberal Turn (2014–2018). Journal of Law and Society, Volume 47, Issue S1, pp. S90-110, 2020 available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/jols.12250
- ‘Not falling for that’: law's detraction and legal consciousness in the lives of Brazilian anti-torture activists. International Journal of Law in Context, Volume 16, Issue 1, March 2020 , pp. 39-56, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1744552320000063
- Respondiendo a la Tortura: Perspectivas latinoamericanas sobre un desafío global (edited with Par Engstrom and Veronica Hinestroza-Arenas), Bogotá and London: U. Externado de Colombia and International Bar Association Human Rights Institute, 2020. https://publicaciones.uexternado.edu.co/gpd-respondiendo-a-la-tortura-9789587902952.html.
- Legal Professionals and Development Strategies: Corporate Lawyers and the Construction of the Telecoms Sector in Brazil, 1980s–2010s (With David M. Trubek). Law & Social Inquiry, 2018, available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/lsi.12310
- Radicalism, Mythification, and Hard Issues in the Diffusion of "Public Interest Law" Across the Americas. The Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 31(3):421, 2018. https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/geojlege31&i=435
- A new republic of lawyers? Legal careers, state power, and political change in contemporary Brazil. Critical Policy Studies, 2017, available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19460171.2017.1363065
- Making lawyers in BRICS: histories, challenges, and strategies for legal education reform. In: Denis de Castro Halis, Rostam Neuwirth & Alexandr Svetlicinni (Eds.), The BRICS-Lawyers' Guide to Global Cooperation. NY: Cambridge University Press, 2017.
- Doing well and doing good in an emerging economy: the social construction of pro bono among corporate lawyers and law firms in Sao Paulo. In: Luciana G. Cunha, Daniela M. Gabbay, José G. Ghirardi, David M. Trubek, & David B. Wilkins (Eds.), “The Brazilian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization”. Cambridge University Press, 2017.
- Lawyering in new developmentalism: legal professionals and the construction of the Telecom sector in the emerging Brazil, 1980s–2010s (with David Trubek). In: Luciana G. Cunha, Daniela M. Gabbay, José G. Ghirardi, David M. Trubek, & David B. Wilkins (Eds.), “The Brazilian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization”. Cambridge University Press, 2017.