An Assessment On The Changing Role Of Professionalism 2016 Essay

2695 words - 11 pages

This submission will argue that the Legal Services Act 2007 (LSA) has changed the nature of professionalism in the legal services market. Having considered what professionalism is, and using a definition constructed by Flexner, this submission will consider the impact of Alternative Business Structures (ABS) on professionalism. It will be argued that the introduction of non-lawyers in the management structures of these new businesses will lead professionalism to move away from its traditional definition; and move to a definition that fulfils the needs of society and the markets. This submission will then consider whether experienced lawyers have a bigger impact on the way professionalism is viewed, rather than the LSA. This submission will focus on literature surrounding solicitors.
Professionalism is a socially constructed concept which is more than just the product of dialogues involving lawyers.[footnoteRef:1] This concept, assumes that producers (lawyers) are best placed to supply the needs of the consumer.[footnoteRef:2] Furthermore, the narrative of professionalism is one of constant change and as a result, responds to interventions by the state and commercial changes in the market.[footnoteRef:3] Flexner constructed five key sociological traits which combine to form a traditional definition of professionalism.[footnoteRef:4] Firstly, the profession must engage in intellectual operations involving individual responsibility.[footnoteRef:5] Secondly, the knowledge must be derived from ‘[social] science[s] and learning’.[footnoteRef:6] Thirdly, the profession must apply its ‘knowledge with techniques that are educationally communicable[footnoteRef:7]. Fourthly, the profession must be self-organised and establish a criterion for legitimate practice.[footnoteRef:8][footnoteRef:9] Finally, the profession must be imbedded with an altruistic spirit. [1: Alan Paterson, Lawyers And The Public Good (1st edn, Cambridge University Press 2012).] [2: Andrew Boon, 'Professionalism Under the Legal Services Act 2007' (2010) 17 International Journal of the Legal Profession. p.198] [3: John A. Flood, 'From Ethics To Regulation: The Re-Organization And Re-Professionalization Of Large Law Firms In The 21St Century' [2010] SSRN Electronic Journal accessed 18 November 2016., p.25] [4: Norman E. Bowie, 'The Law: From A Profession To A Business' (1998) 41 The Vanderbilt Law Review. p.743] [5: R. Ramsey, 'Is Social Work A Profession?' (, 2000) accessed 18 November 2016.] [6: Ibid n5.] [7: Ibid n5.] [8: Ibid n5.] [9: Ibid n4 ]
The introduction of the ABS, is leading to de-professionalisation of the legal services market.[footnoteRef:10] With this change in a firms structure, it can now be seen that ABS leads the legal services market to move away from the ‘older forms of management’ to now...

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