Developing Identity for Lawyers

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Developing Identity for Lawyers

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Titel: Developing Identity for Lawyers
Towards Sustainable Lawyering
Forfatter: Høedt-Rasmussen, Inger
Resume: The role of the lawyer is in transition and the formerly predominantly homogeneous profes-sion has become a heterogeneous group of lawyers with diverging perceptions of the lawyer’s identity and of the main characteristics of the profession. The European Union has extended the perception of democracy and the fundamental rights to include more collective rights, social concerns, global responsibility and sustainability. The dissertation’s main question is: How can the identity and competences of lawyers be developed so that they can practise sustainable and proactive lawyering in the European Union? Theoretically as well as methodologically this research constitutes an interdisciplinary study, where legal science meets sociology and social learning theories. Identity development is perceived as a reflective project; there is a range of lifestyle choices which contribute to a composed but constantly shifting maintenance of self-identity in relation to democratic principles and the ideal of justice connected to the role of lawyers. The study builds on Anthony Giddens’s structuration theory. This involves looking at how lawyers connect the questions ‘What to do?’ (societal level) and ‘How to act?’ (professional level) with ’Who to be?’ (personal level). The study depicts a European identity ideal based on legal sources while empirical data from focus groups and individual interviews makes it possible to identify six different identities among Danish practising lawyers. It is possible to recognise the following identities: lawyer-businessman, lawyer-performer, lawyer-entrepreneur, lawyer-humanist, lawyer-integrator and lawyer-statesman. The fragmentation of the profession, with greater demand for specialist knowledge, in-creased individualisation and participation in new communities of practice, requires each lawyer to reflect on their identity and establish criteria for what, when and how they will use their lawyering skills. For this to succeed, lawyers’ identities and competences will depend more on self-directed learning and individual learning plans, where the legal identity combines (global) societal responsibility with job satisfaction, authenticity and adherence to personal values.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/8908
Dato: 2014-04-09

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