|Title||Legal Professional De(Re)Regulation, Equality, and Inclusion, and the Contested Space of Professionalism Within the Legal Market in England and Wales|
The legal profession in England and Wales is undergoing an unprecedented process of de(re)regulation as a result of the Legal Services Act 2007 (LSA 2007). New types of legal businesses are emerging, and law graduates—who previously had not found a place within the regulated admitted legal profession—appear to be entering new facets of the legal marketplace, albeit often in precarious circumstances via circuitous routes. Although the new market model may be encouraging legal employers to hire a broader cohort of law graduates, including those historically denied access to a full career in law, it is also encouraging greater role and status differentiation as between lawyers. The new model obfuscates the barriers that face non-white and working class law graduates who wish to become fully admitted members of the profession. Further, while equality and inclusion discourse is well rehearsed regarding professional admission and promotion, that terminology is less prominent in the access to justice debate. Thus, it is unclear if market innovations are prompting greater equality and inclusion for marginalized would-be clients or allowing the state and the legal profession(s) to evade the fundamental rule of law precept of access to justice for all. This Article aims to examine equality and inclusion in legal services from the perspectives of would-be lawyers and would-be clients. It begins by examining the state and solicitors’ changing relationship regarding access to justice, professional independence, and the rule of law. It then considers the changes that the LSA 2007 wrought, and whether this neoliberal turn can deliver equality and inclusion within the profession and by the profession for those seeking redress with legal help. It also explores whether de(re)regulation may be altering the legal profession(s)’s ability to act as gatekeeper to the profession(s) and whether this too may have an impact on equality and inclusion within the legal services sector and the protection of consumers’ legal rights.
|equality, diversity and inclusion|
|access to justice|
|Journal||Fordham Law Review|
|Journal citation||83 (5), pp. 2349-2367|
|Web address (URL)||http://fordhamlawreview.org/assets/pdfs/Vol_83/No_5/Webley_April.pdf|