English Lawyers between Market and State: The Politics of Professionalism

Paperback | July 22, 2004

byRichard L Abel

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Toward the end of the twentieth century, English lawyers enjoyed widespread respect and prosperity. They had survived criticism by practitioners and academics and a Royal Commission enquiry, but the final decade witnessed profound changes. First the Conservatives sought to apply laissez-faireprinciples to the profession. Then Labour transformed the legal aid scheme it had created half a century earlier. At the same time, the profession confronted cumulative changes in higher education and women's aspirations, internal and external competition, and dramatic fluctuations in demand. Thisbook analyses the politics of professionalism during that tumultuous decade, the struggles among individual producers (barristers, solicitors, foreign lawyers, accountants) their associations, consumers (individual and corporate, public and private) and the state to shape the market for legalservices by deploying economic, political and rhetorical resources (including changing conceptions of professionalism).The profession had to respond to a greatly increased production of law graduates and the desire of lawyer mothers (and also fathers) to raise their families. It had to replace exclusivity with efforts to reflect the larger society (class, race, gender). The Bar needed to address challenges to itsexclusive rights of audience from both solicitors and employed barristers and decide whether to retaliate by permitting direct access, thereby compromising its claim to be a consulting profession. Solicitors had to reconcile their invocation of market principles against the Bar with their resistanceto corporate conveyancing and multidisciplinary practices. Government had to restrain a demand-led legal aid scheme; practitioners and their associations sought to pressure the government to expand eligibility and raise remuneration rates.Divisions within both branches so compromised self-regulation and governance that the government even threatened to deprive lawyers of those essential elements of professionalism. These challenges have begun a transformation of the legal profession that will shape its evolution throughout the twenty-first century.

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Toward the end of the twentieth century, English lawyers enjoyed widespread respect and prosperity. They had survived criticism by practitioners and academics and a Royal Commission enquiry, but the final decade witnessed profound changes. First the Conservatives sought to apply laissez-faireprinciples to the profession. Then Labour tr...

Richard Abel is Connell Professor of Law, UCLA. He is a member of the Bars of New York and Connecticut.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:731 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.61 inPublished:July 22, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198260342

ISBN - 13:9780198260349

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Table of Contents

1. The Legal Profession in English Politics2. An Unlikely Revolutionary3. Halting the Tide4. Reflecting Society?5. Defending the Temple6. Controlling Competition7. Conservatives Cut Legal Aid Costs8. Labour Ends Legal Aid As We Know It9. Serving Two Masters: The Dilemma of Self-Regulation10. Governing a Fractious Profession11. The Future of Legal Professionalism

Editorial Reviews

`...Professor Abel once again shows his absolute mastery of the subject area, of the background, of the theory and of the facts. This is a book for researchers, for serious students, for historians and policy makers and for practitioners with a view beyond the immediate. It will be essentialreading for anybody who wishes to comment on a crucial decade in the development of the English legal profession...The final chapter brings an overall analysis with strong, unremitting and characteristic comment from the most important commentator on the English legal professional scene. No one candetract from the comprehensive majesty of the agglomeration or the certainty of its analytic touch.'Professor Avrom Sherr