The Legal Profession in the United States and Australia: Deprofessionalization or Reorganization?

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    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Over the past 2 decades, the legal profession in the United States and Australia has undergone critical changes including growth, specialization, the entry of women, increasing salaried employment, and the relaxation on advertising constraints. Many argue that these developments undermine the profession's autonomy, self-regulation, and control over the terms and organization of work and suggest that the law is becoming deprofessionalized. By accepting, albeit implicitly, the attribute model of the professions, these theorists necessarily interpret change as “profession damaging.” This article examines the implications of recent developments for the status of the legal profession in both societies and questions whether they diminish professional control and prerogative or constitute new forms of organization. It concludes that recent changes demonstrate that various segments within the profession are making jurisdictional claims and strengthening their positions vis-à-vis employers, competing occupational groups, clients, and other segments of the profession. Increasing heterogeneity within the legal profession enables greater flexibility and versatility in the long term. For the most part, short-term conflicts are contained within the profession.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)184-204
    Number of pages21
    JournalWork and Occupations
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 1992


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