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Title: Becoming a solicitor : an examination of the process by which trainee solicitors develop the appropriate skills and identity that enable them to become recognised as fully qualified members of the solicitors' profession
Author: Wild, Richard
ISNI:       0000 0001 3568 1385
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 1997
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The study examines the process by which trainee solicitors becomes fully qualified solicitors. It involves more than simply an examination of the process of training that leads to qualification. Included is a sense of the transformation from learning student to working professional. Very little work has been done in this area and two fundamental questions remained unanswered - what is it that trainee solicitors actually do and what is it that they are becoming, in other words, what is the solicitors' profession? The study focuses on the two year training contract and covers the trainees' experience of training from entry into a solicitors' firm to admission to the rolls. The method of investigation included preliminary interviews and a national questionnaire survey. There is an enormous degree of variation in the form and quality of training received in different firms. Law Society regulations imply a particular form of training, however, in actuality, what trainees experienced tended to be very different. The role of the supervisor was held to be central to the process of training and yet there was no consistent pattern to supervision. This reflected the often arbitrary nature of training as experienced by trainees. The quality of feedback that they received was often less than adequate. In view of this it is hardly surprising that in many firms there was little structured development through the two years of the Training Contract. Much of this variation, inconsistency and inadequacy may be as a result of apparent ambiguities as to the fundamental purpose of the Training Contract. The Law Society regulations expound a general form of training as a foundation for all areas of practice whilst the majority of trainees and many firms tended to prefer a degree of specialism. Furthermore, it seems as if the Law Society's intentions are not, and cannot be, fully translated across all Training Establishments. Whatever the training policy the experience of trainees is generally mediated by supervisors who may lack adequately training or appropriate resources. Ultimately, for trainees the training appears to have less to do with the development of skills through situated learning and more to do with the doing, coping and fitting in of everyday practice. This represents the broader function of the Training Contract as an essential mechanism for inculcating the trainee into the particular firm and into the wider profession. After all what they are training for is a job.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Legal profession