Report: Work Experience and Professional Identity (UK)

Access to legal work experience and its role in the (re)production of legal professional identity

UKCLE PDF project

Project team: Andrew Francis, Keele University (e-mail: and Hilary Sommerlad, Professor of Socio Legal Studies at University of Leicester (previously at Centre for Research into Diversity in the Professions, Leeds Metropolitan University).
Project summary: an exploration of the role of legal work experience and its importance as a gateway to a career in the legal profession
Start date: October 2008

From the website:

Project aims

Up to now there has been no research into the key role played by work experience in mediating access to the profession and reproducing professional identity, or into the ways in which greater understanding of the profession’s expectations might enhance law students’ future employability.

This two year project aims to:

  • explore the processes of legal work experience – how it is obtained, how students experience it and how employers ‘manage’ it
  • review different teaching and learning strategies designed to enhance students’ understanding of the profession
  • develop theoretical understandings of the processes of professional socialisation
  • contribute to debates surrounding the effectiveness of either ‘embedding’ such specific employability skills across the curricula and/or in PDP activities, or in standalone credit carrying modules
  • organise a one-day workshop to share best practice within legal education and the profession
  • develop from the research data, module and PDP evaluation, and workshop a series of web resources to support employability strategies within law schools

The preliminary report (very interesting) is found on the UKCLE website, click here.

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