Legal advice bureaux and the legal profession : maintaining collegiate control : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Sociology at Massey University

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Massey University
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Legal Advice Bureaux appear to minimise the traditional professional-client relationship in which the professional establishes his or her ascendancy over the client. The present study investigates whether Legal Advice Bureaux are, therefore, weakening the New Zealand legal profession's control over its occupational domain. It is based on T.J. Johnson's "radical" theory of the professions and rejects both "conventional" and "reactionary" explanations of professions and professionalism. Following this perspective, it is proposed that Legal Advice Bureaux and those who work in them are nevertheless engaged in establishing the legal profession's occupational dominance. An inquiry into the structure, processes and ideology of Legal Advice Bureaux and the personal and professional characteristics of those who work in them form the empirical core of the present study. The findings presented are based on the responses of 29 Legal Advice Bureaux supervisors and 273 lawyers from a stratified multi-stage varying probability sample of four urban areas in New Zealand. Response rates were 71.9% (N = 32) and 84.5% (N = 323) respectively. Data are presented in 50 in-text tables. Whilst finding some support for its propositions, the study concludes by raising some problems in Johnson's theory of the professions which remain to be solved.
New Zealand, Legal aid, Lawyers