Title of Presentation : What is legal professionalism and can clinic teach it?
Names of all Presenters : Tony Foley
Short Abstract : Professionalism is a contested concept. A traditional view is that professions are occupational groups granted the privileges of self regulation and monopoly over certain areas of work in exchange for upholding a set of ethically based values. But some commentators (Flood, Sommerlad, Webb) believe that such traditional notions of professionalism (often characterised by autonomy, collegiality, public service etc) have all but disappeared in modern legal workplaces. In their place, a narrower more technical notion of professionalism which focuses on the possession and control of highly specialised knowledge and skills now prevails. Law graduates making the transition to legal work will construct their own professional identity somewhere between these two extremes. Clinics can act as gatekeepers to preserve broader notions of professionalism where public service remains a fundamental commitment. This paper argues this is a crucial role for clinic.
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