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Professionalism in the legal profession – can you teach it? A phenomenographic study of Irish legal education stakeholders’ perceptions.

Hession, Rachael (2016) Professionalism in the legal profession – can you teach it? A phenomenographic study of Irish legal education stakeholders’ perceptions. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The Law Society of Ireland is currently the sole provider of legal professional training in Ireland leading to qualification as a solicitor. Its educational policy provides that it must ensure students are prepared for professional practice and instil in them a lifelong commitment to high professional standards and behaviour. Yet, there is concern that professionalism is losing its value. In this context, and following an earlier small scale study which studied the perceptions of the legal education teachers (tutors and training solicitors) only, this thesis explores the teaching of legal professionalism in Ireland using interview data from the principal stakeholders in the legal profession education system including students (the trainee solicitors). The data was analysed phenomenographically in order to determine the extent to which there was variation in perceptions among these stakeholders as to how professionalism is understood and how best to teach or instil the notion. The findings indicate diverse perceptions among stakeholders that reflect a lack of shared understanding of both professionalism and how to teach it. The study critically discusses the findings in light of relevant literature. It explores questions about how any variance might affect the quality of teaching of professionalism, what social and cultural factors are at play and how, if necessary, variations in perception might be addressed. The study concludes that a co-ordinated approach to understanding and fostering professionalism will help bridge this gap in perceptions. This should raise professional standards and could, potentially, address the concerns of the profession. The study outlines recommendations for professional education and suggestions for future studies.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.713261
Depositing User: Ms Rachael Hession
Date Deposited: 02 May 2017 08:36
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:38
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/16856

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