Published in 1996, this book presents an innovative method for studying the work of professionals with clients that was applied to an evaluation study of legislation and of lawyers working with clients seeking a divorce. With the simulated client methods, the researcher plays the role of simulated or hypothetical clients with predetermined characteristics who are consulting a lawyer, the research subject. The research is carried out in the natural setting of the lawyer’s office and the lawyer conducts business as usual. The method overcomes problems of access due to client confidentiality that are commonly found in research of professional groups. It is a qualitative but focused method for evaluation research which has strengths for making comparisons across professional practice. The book will be useful to those conducting research on professionals and other elite groups working with clients as well as those interested in the socio-legal study of legal professionals.
This book was originally published as part of the Cardiff Papers in Qualitative Research series edited by Paul Atkinson, Sara Delamont and Amanda Coffey. The series publishes original sociological research that reflects the tradition of qualitative and ethnographic inquiry developed at Cardiff. The series includes monographs reporting on empirical research, edited collections focussing on particular themes, and texts discussing methodological developments and issues.
1. The Need for the Method. 2. Developing the Simulated Client. 3. In the Field and After. 4. Identifying Similarities using the Simulated Client. 5. Finding Variation using the Simulated Client.