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Law’s Boundaries: Connections in contemporary legal professionalism

Francis, Andrew (2020) Law’s Boundaries: Connections in contemporary legal professionalism. Journal of Professions and Organizations, 2020. pp. 1-17. ISSN 2051-8803 (In Press)

Restricted to Repository staff only until 11 March 2022.

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Legal services markets and their professions are transforming, through market liberalisation, regulatory disruption and a broader set of societal shifts. This paper argues that the nature and scale of these changes requires a re-evaluation of the role that rigid jurisdictional boundaries play within the system of the legal professions. Legal Professionalism developed on the basis of strong control over its professional boundaries. Recent discussion of the contemporary legal services market has focused on the competitive threat that new entrants bring to these established boundaries. This paper argues that such a focus underplays the nature of the disruption across boundaries of expert knowledge. It focuses on legal services as an exemplar site of regulatory disruption to professional boundaries and draws on the analysis of two key sites (ABS and Wealth Management) to ask what is the nature of connected claims of expertise and what drivers for connectivity do they indicate? Through this analysis of connected professional claims within legal services, this paper focusses attention on a new approach to professional work that is becoming more important. In doing so, it advances the research agenda on professions and organisations, not just within legal services in England and Wales, but for other professional sectors and other jurisdictions.

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