Floyd, Lucy (2019) Becoming a female solicitor: vocational professional training as a site of identity formation and professional socialisation. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

Persistent structural inequalities within the solicitors’ profession in England and Wales include the entry barriers faced by non-traditional applicants, and the hegemonic masculinity of the profession. Legal education is a significant actor in the process of legal professional socialisation, and vocational and professional training (VPT) is particularly significant because it is the only part of the formal legal education process through which almost all aspiring solicitors will go. Existing research does not specifically examine the significance of VPT in the formation of the professional identities of aspiring female solicitors, nor the ways in which that significance may vary depending on class background.
The study set out to answer the research question: What is the significance of the vocational professional training process as a site of professional identity formation and professional socialisation for intending female solicitors? Using the Legal Practice Course (LPC) as a vehicle, the study obtained qualitative data by conducting semi-structured interviews with female students at four institutions. An initial study was conducted at one institution (n = 9) and the main data collection phase took place during the subsequent academic year, when students across three further institutions (n = 14) were interviewed as they began their LPC and again as they finished the course.
The study is intersectional in nature and draws on concepts of professional identity and profession, together with those of field, capital and habitus. Its findings represent a contribution to debate about the professional project and suggest that VPT in its current form may reflect and thereby tacitly endorse or even exacerbate the professional status quo. The study’s findings contribute to knowledge in the field of legal professional identities and, although not generalisable, may provide a starting point for changes to aspects of the legal education and training process, and for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2019 15:49
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2019 15:49
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/6078

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