This article delves into the issue of the criminal involvement of lawyers defending clients charged with mafia crimes, by focusing on both the criminal dimension of their conducts and the professional ethics-related one. After contextualizing the phenomenon within the scholarly literature about the so-called "grey area", the article reconstructs Cosa Nostra judicial history. More precisely, it underlines the changes occurred to the Sicilian mafia’s needs in terms of criminal defence and protection of illicit capital, which have led lawyers to bridge between the prison and the outside world, as well as between the mafia system and the legitimate economy in some cases. In the final part, the article zooms on the case study of the Lo Piccolo mafia family’s former lawyer, who was convicted with mafia-type association and later on became a collaborator of justice. In doing so, this essay aims at highlighting the heuristic fruitfulness of grasping the subjective perspective of the actors populating the grey area, through the use of qualitative research methods (life stories, semi-structured and in-depth interviews).
Keywords: Mafia - lawyers - grey area - professional ethics