Vicious (Magic) Circle

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When the barriers for entry into the solicitors’profession in the UK are set so high (in particular for those seeking to join leading City of London firms as trainee solicitors), why is the work undertaken by the talented individuals who are recruited more often than not routine and administrative in nature? Smith considers this issue and concludes that, in a profession where clients are billed on a time basis, there is an incentive for firms to have legally qualified staff perform work that could in many instances be undertaken by secretarial or administrative staff. Smith expresses the view that it is not only clients of these firms who are the victim of deception, but their recruits as well. Expectations of challenging and varied careers are rarely borne out in reality. It is the nature of the work, rather than the quantity of it, in Smith’s opinion, which contributes to the high numbers who leave the profession for alternative careers.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Legal Ethics is an international and interdisciplinary journal devoted to the field of legal ethics.
    The journal provides an intellectual meeting ground for academic lawyers, practitioners and policy-makers to debate developments shaping the ethics of law and its practice at the micro and macro levels.
    Its focus is broad enough to encompass empirical research on the ethics and conduct of the legal professions and judiciary, studies of legal ethics education and moral development, ethics development in contemporary professional practice, the ethical responsibilities of law schools, professional bodies and government, and jurisprudential or wider philosophical reflections on law as an ethical system and on the moral obligations of individual lawyers.
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