The sub-group was established by Hilary Sommerlad and Kim Economides in 2006 at the bi-annual meeting of the Working Group on Legal Professions, held that year in Peyresq, France. The sub-group’s theme reflected Hilary’s research into professional identity formation, and Kim’s work on legal ethics.

Since 2006 the sub-group has generated a wide ranging and lively engagement with its themes from speakers in many different jurisdictions.  Its first meeting was held in 2007 at the International Congress of Sociology of Law, Humboldt University, Berlin. There were 2 sessions, and papers were presented by Leny de Groot; Ernestine Kohne; Kim Economides; Lisa Webley; Cynthia Epstein; and Hilary Sommerlad, addressing a range of topics from identity formation and ethics amongst judges and ’cause lawyers’ to the role of narrative in law firms in forming ethical behaviour.

At the 2010 Meeting of the Working Group (held in Gif sur Yvette, Paris) there were presentations from Adrian Evans, Lisa Webley, Adelheid Kühne; Hilary Sommerlad; Ruth Djordjevic and Paula Fernando. The papers addressed a range of themes including how ethical behaviour amongst lawyers might be assessed, the casualisation of legal labour markets and the impact on identity, and stress and strain experienced by civil and family lawyers.

In 2011, as a result of his re-location to New Zealand and the responsibilities of his new post, Kim left the group; he is now Dean of Flinders Law School, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia: kim.economides@flinders.edu.au

The sub-group had one session at the 2012 Meeting (Haus Schlesien, Bonn), in which the following papers were presented: Hilary Sommerlad: ‘Bleached out’ professionalism versus white macho masculinities, pathologies of black masculinities or black professionalism? How to succeed as a black male solicitor’; Anna Krajewska: ‘Law experts? The role of lawyers providing service to local governments in Poland’; Lisa Webley: ‘Diversity and the Legal Profession: The Importance of the ‘Right’ Academic Background’; Rob Rosen: ‘The Law: Business or One of the Professions?’

At this year’s meeting in Frauenchiemsee July 6-9, 2014, the panel will have two sessions:


  • Hilary Sommerlad: Pussy Riot: show trials and the New Lawyer
  • Simon Rice: Resilience and motivation among community legal centre lawyers in Australia
  • Rakesh Anand: On the legitimacy of religious lawyering
  • Susan Carle: Consequences of the Exclusion of African American Women from the Legal Profession prior to 1920


  • Rosemary Hunter: Judicial Diversity and the New Judge
  • Steven Vaughan: Gay lawyers and the English legal profession
  • Theresa Lynch: Black and Minority Ethnic Students and Mooting at Birmingham Law School: A Discussion Inspired by Basil Bernstein

Steven Vaughan and Theresa Lynch are members of the Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research (CEPLER), Birmingham Law Schoolhttp://www.birmingham.ac.uk/facilities/CEPLER/index.aspx,   which Hilary moved to as Research Director in April 2013.  Professional identity and values are key themes of the Centre, and we are always pleased to hear from colleagues who would like to visit us.  The Centre’s first book is due to be published in late 2014 by Hart:  The Futures of Legal Education and the Legal Profession http://www.hartpublishingusa.com/books/search.asp?st=2&s=The+Futures+of+Legal+Education+and+the+Legal+Profession, and pre-orders can now be made on Hart’s website.  Hilary is also Articles Editor of Legal Ethics – see http://www.hartjournals.co.uk/le/index.html – and of course welcomes submissions on professional values and identities.

Ideas for panels at future meetings or research collaborations on any issue relating to professional identity and professional values would also be most welcome – to be sent to Dr. Hilary Sommerlad, Professor of Law, Research Director of the Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston B15 2TT, United Kingdom

E. H.A.K.Sommerlad@bham.ac.uk;     T. +44 (0) 1214144030  


Legal Education and Training

and the Professions

Venue: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR
Monday 23 June Tuesday 24 June, 2014

Academic Directors:
Professor Avrom Sherr, Woolf Professor of Legal Education, Director on Sabbatical, Institute
of Advanced Legal Studies;
Professor Richard Moorhead, Director, Centre of Ethics and Law,
University College London;
Professor Hilary Sommerlad, Research Director, Centre for Professional Legal Education and
Research, Birmingham Law School, Birmingham

Call for Papers

The Legal Education Review (LETR) has produced its research report, but its recommendations generate many questions. For instance, it has suggested an approach which could transcend the boundaries between the different legal professions. As a result, the LSB is pushing regulators towards evidence- and risk-based policy and the SRA are indicating a bonfire of the regulations – but do we know enough about the interactions between regulation and education to justify this move?

Another of the report’s key proposals is that legal education be shaped by outcomes unlike those currently governing education and training. However, if drawn at too high a conceptual level, such competencies might be too vague to be useful, yet if they are more tightly specified they are likely to provide a never ending list of standards to be attained. The result could be that legal educators and professionals ‘drown in a sea of competencies’, while the means by which such competencies will be assessed, and by whom, is uncertain. Will assessment be by the market, ‘traditional’ University law schools, vocational law schools, even venture capitalists? And how will such a market driven system impact on academic research?

All these questions point to an even more fundamental, and long standing, issue – namely, what is, and what should be, the role of a legal education? Should it – will it be able to – continue to seek to provide a liberal, humanist education designed primarily to inculcate a critical awareness of the meaning of law, including its ethical content and social role? Or does the emphasis on the market inevitably mean that it will be explicitly tailored to the demands of the profession? This is the logic of LETR’s recommendations, but it had great difficulty in divining the future of legal practice. Some indications may be found in a recent paper by The Law Society of England and Wales and the results of the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law’s “Innovating Justice” Project. Clearly, legal educators will need to understand the possible futures both for the professions and


the Rule of Law. However it is undeniable that this task is made more difficult by the dramatic changes the professions have undergone in recent years, which have served both to produce further fragmentation and make the future highly opaque.

These ‘big’ questions generate practical, pedagogical issues. For instance, if legal service provision is to be dominated by new models of provision, modes of delivery and concerns with professional engagement, how will this impact on what is taught and how it is taught? Should systems thinking, design and big data be integrated into a legal curriculum? And how should Law Schools respond to, on the one hand, the increased emphasis in universities on employability and, on the other, the growth in low wage, casual labour markets within the professions, markets which also appear to be predominantly populated by graduates from Black and Minority Ethnic and lower socio-economic backgrounds? Does this reduce the legitimacy of legal education? Do Law Schools have an ethical obligation to warn applicants of the likely difficulties in entering the professions? In the United States this is now a high profile issue: Law Schools have been accused of promoting their ability to provide law jobs to graduates unfairly, and have seen a significant drop in applications, leading to a review of their whole approach. President Obama has suggested that a law degree should take two, rather than three postgraduate years. The Bologna Declaration for education in the EU suggests that educational systems throughout Europe should aim for three years of education plus two years of practical training. In England and Wales solicitors are already one year above this prescription.

The WG Hart Workshop 2014 will provide some academic distance from LETR and professions’ and regulators’ responses. It represents an important opportunity to think about some of the issues identified above, and many other aspects of legal education and training and the professions.

Abstracts of 300 words (and no more than 500 maximum) should be sent to IALS.WGHart@sas.ac.uk

by email attachment by Friday 28 February 2014

The Academic Directors especially welcome contributions from early career researchers.

Registration fees will apply to the Workshop. Travel bursaries may be available for junior researchers.

Academic enquires should be sent to:

Professor Avrom Sherr: avrom.sherr@sas.ac.uk

Professor Richard Moorhead: r.moorhead@ucl.ac.uk Professor Hilary Sommerlad: h.a.k.sommerlad@bham.ac.uk

For general enquiries or if you are simply interested in attending the Workshop, please contact:

Belinda Crothers,

Academic Programmes Manager Institute of Advanced Legal Studies,

17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR. Email: Belinda.Crothers@sas.ac.uk

Workshop Website: www.sas.ac.uk/events/view/15715

“Women in Legal Professions: Experiences and Representations”

The deadline for submission is January 20, 2014


About the journal: E-cadernos ces is a peer-reviewed, online and entirely open access journal, published by the Center for Social Studies in Coimbra. The journal is currently indexed in CAPES, EBSCO and Latindex. For more information about this publication seehttp://www.ces.uc.pt/e-cadernos/pages/en/index.php?lang=EN.

Texts should be presented in final version, in Portuguese, English, or Castilian. Manuscripts may have from 50 to 70,000 characters with spaces, including notes and references. For the final section @cetera, other manuscripts may be submitted (up to 35,000 characters), such as interviews and discussions (up to 25,000 characters) or book reviews (up to 5,000 characters).

More information herehttp://www.ces.uc.pt/e-cadernos/pages/en/next-issues/women-in-legal-professions-experiences-and-representations.php

Dubrovnik Conference

12th session of the Jean Monnet seminar in Dubrovnik:

Legal Profession Before and After the Accession


Call for papers:

The 12th session of the Jean Monnet seminar in Dubrovnik will take place between 13 and 18 April 2014.


The seminar will deal with the topic of Legal Profession Before and After the Accession.  The organisers, Jean Monnet Chair of European Public Law at the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, will be happy to welcome researchers interested in presenting a paper dealing with the seminar topic, as well as doctoral students, researchers, junior public servants, attorneys and members of the judiciary interested in participating.


Accepted candidates will be invited to publish their papers in – Croatian Yearbook of European Law & Policy.



More information about the topic and grants can be found on the seminar webpage:http://www.pravo.unizg.hr/EJP/jean_monnet_projekt/dubrovnik_2014



-          paper abstract (500 words max.): 15 January 2014

-          submission of papers: 31 March 2014

-          submission of papers for publication in CYELP: 1 June 2014

-          motivation letter and a CV (participation without a paper):on a rolling basis


WORKSHOP ON THE LEGAL PROFESSION (Link to booking details)


The legal profession is experiencing profound transformations in its
composition, organization, and activities. The increase in the number of
lawyers and the feminization of the profession has entirely changed the
configuration of the profession and the enrollment of its members. More
generally globalization, internationalization of legal markets, and the speeding
of legislative process/output, have made the normative universe in which
lawyers evolve more complex. They have had to transform their activity to
make it more efficient in order to keep their place in a more competitive
context and to meet the new standards for transparency and accountability.
These significant changes vary by cultural contexts and the structure of the
legal profession in each country.

This one day workshop will address three broad themes that take place in the
contemporary legal profession. Researchers will present recent and ongoing
work by exploring an array of comparative and international perspectives. The
aim of this workshop is to facilitate a dialogue on these current changes in the
legal profession and to discuss potential next steps of building a comparative
framework for additional collaborative work on the legal profession.

Legal Profession Group Meeting 2014

JFrom July 6th to July 9th 2014, the next meeting of the RCSL Working Group of Comparative Studies on Legal Professions will take place at the island of Frauenchiemsee in lake Chiemsee in Bavaria/Germany. http://www.frauenwoerth.de/
Further information Ulrike.Schultz@FernUni-Hagen.de and Ina.Schultz@FernUni-Hagen.de

New Book!

Gender and Judging

edited by Ulrike Schultz and Gisela Shaw and published by Hart Publishing/Oxford in the Onati International Series in Law and Society, June 2013.


The collection on Gender and Judging complements the collection “Women in the World´s Legal Professions” which is more focussed on the professional situation of women lawyers. (Schultz, Ulrike and Gisela Shaw, eds. (2003) Women in the World´s Legal Professions. Oxford: Hart)


Gender and Careers in the Legal Academy

A new topic has been put on the agenda of the Women/Gender in the Legal Profession Group: the careers and professional situation of women (and men) in the legal academy. At FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany a three year research project JurPro deals with these issues. On June 13th 2013 a conference was held in Hagen including as speakers Margaret Thornton from the Australian National University in Canberra and Richard Collier from Newcastle University in the UK, a project presentation will follow on the 27th of June 2014. Videostreams from the conference are accessible at the project website, as well as videostreams from a session on Gender and Careers in the Legal Academy taken at the Legal Profession Group meeting in Königswinter, Germany, July 2012. http://www.fernuni-hagen.de/jurpro


XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology
Facing an Unequal World: Challenges for Global Sociology Yokohama, Japan July 13-19, 2014

We are pleased to announce that the submission of abstracts to over 600 sessions organized by the ISA Research Committees, Working and Thematic Group is now open.

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please submit an abstract on-line before September 30, 2013.

For more details, please see Guidelines for Presenters




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