How "Firm" are Lawyers' Perceptions of Professionalism?
While there is much written about professionalism from a theoretical perspective, it is not known whether these theories inform the decisions and practices of lawyers in the working environment. This paper reports on the findings of an empirical study about lawyers' work. The study interviewed comparatively new practitioners (practising for only two years) and more experienced practitioners (practising for more than fifteen years) about their perceptions of professionalism. It found that these two groups of practitioners have differing perceptions and that this affects how they view what happens in firms. In particular this paper uses the work of social psychologists to discuss the influence of culture. Key words Professionalism Empirical Social psychology Situational pressures Culture Conformity Compliance