Social Mobility and the Legal Profession
The case of professional associations and access to the English Bar
This book will be crucial reading for students across a variety of disciplines. A broadly socio-legal text, using a mixed-methods design combining grounded theory with an in-depth case study, this research explores a rarely-seen facet of the legal profession. Sociologists studying the practical effect of sociological concepts from theorists such as Bourdieu and Weber; those studying the legal profession from the sociological, law or psychological angles; anyone examining elite professions; management students examining the operation of professional associations and the ways in which these mobilise to take action on controversial topics; those studying the role and creation of outreach: all will find something of interest in this monograph. For those within the legal profession itself it also provides a look into an oft-hidden world: that of the English Bar. A notoriously secretiveprofession, traditional, elite and suspicious of research – the case study evaluatingan outreach programme sheds light on how this fascinating world operates when trying to engage in progressive steps. Through the eyes of a professional association seeking to improve socio-economic diversity in the profession through instituting an access programme focussed on work experience, it examines not just how professional association action may succeed or fail, but why.
With foreword by Lord Neuberger, former President of the Supreme Court and Chair of the Working Party on Entry to the Bar.
Table of Contents
1. Social mobility and the professions in the 21st Century 2. Social mobility and the legal profession – getting in and getting on 3. Conceptualising professional associations – powerful or power-hungry? 4. Values, attachment and professional associations 5. The importance of individuals within professional associations 6. Transformative action for social mobility: Radical innovation or maintenance of status quo? 7. Wider constraints on interventions by professional associations: Challenges within and challenges without? 8. Putting theory into practice – general themes for access schemes 9. Conclusions and postscript
Elaine Freer is a criminal barrister at 5 Paper Buildings (Chambers of Miranda Moore QC and Julian Christopher QC), where she prosecutes and defends in criminal and regulatory matters in the Youth, Magistrates’ and Crown Courts. She is also a Fellow at Robinson College, Cambridge, where she holds a part-time post as a College Teaching Officer, supervising undergraduate students in the modules of Criminal Law and Criminology, Sentencing and the Penal System. Prior to pupillage she completed a PhD in Law at Keele University, which examined the operation of professional associations, focussing on an attempt to improve social mobility at the Bar.