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The progress of legal specialisation programs in Australia and the United States of America: A comparative study

Lauw, Swan-Ing (1997) The progress of legal specialisation programs in Australia and the United States of America: A comparative study. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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In this thesis I attempt to explain the progress of recognition and institutionalisation of specialisation by lawyers by reference to the structure of legal professional associations. The thesis also explores the relevance of the social psychological theory of social identity to understanding the rate of introduction and implementation of such specialisation programs.

I suggest that legal professional associations possessing certain characteristics display a tendency to be dynamic, while organisations with differing characteristics are more likely to be static—that is, slow to introduce change. The relevant characteristics are discussed with reference to a number of legal professional associations in Australia and the United States of America.

Social identity of individual members is also helpful in understanding their level of participation and interest in the organisations to which they belong, and is particularly pertinent to progress in the introduction of legal specialisation programs, as these programs are by their nature divisive. The creation of subgroups through specialisation may have the effect of further fragmenting the professional association, producing intraorganisational tension and conflict, and reducing the level of cohesiveness within the organisation.

I conclude by suggesting the need for further research into the nature of and functioning of legal professional associations.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Business, Information Technology and Law
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): UNSPECIFIED
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