Perceptions of Lawyers - A Transnational Study of Student Views on the Image of Law and Lawyers

31 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2006  

Michael Asimow

Stanford Law School

Steve Greenfield

University of Westminster - School of Law

Stefan Machura

Bangor University School of Social Sciences

Guy Osborn

University of Westminster - School of Law

Peter Robson

University of Strathclyde - School of Law

Robert Sockloskie

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Cassandra Sharp

University of Wollongong

Guillermo Jorge

University of Buenos Aires (UBA)

Abstract

This article reports a survey of first year law students (1Ls) on their first day of class in the United States, England, Scotland, Germany, Australia, and Argentina. The survey asked about the 1L's opinions of the prestige and honor of lawyers and whether lawyers deserve their incomes. It revealed that 1Ls had quite low opinions about whether lawyers were honorable, sometimes lower than the opinions held by the general public.

The survey also inquired about the sources of information students found helpful in forming their opinions. The 1Ls reported that the news, discussions with friends, and lawyers in the family were helpful. Surprisingly high numbers reported that popular culture sources had been helpful.

Numerous studies have shown that people's opinions are influenced by fictitious pop culture they have consumed (so-called media effects). In some countries (particularly the U. S. Germany, and Argentina), the 1L's opinions of lawyers' prestige, honor, and deserts were positively correlated to the amount of legal film and television shows they had consumed. In Scotland, they were negatively correlated. These relationships could suggest the presence of a media effect (meaning that the 1L's opinions were influenced by pop culture they had consumed).

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This is a preprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the International Journal of the Legal Profession(c)(2005) Copyright Taylor & Francis.

Keywords: student views of lawyers, popular culture

Suggested Citation

Asimow, Michael and Greenfield, Steve and Machura, Stefan and Osborn, Guy and Robson, Peter and Sockloskie, Robert and Sharp, Cassandra and Jorge, Guillermo, Perceptions of Lawyers - A Transnational Study of Student Views on the Image of Law and Lawyers. International Journal of the Legal Profession, Vol. 12, p. 407, 2005; UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 06-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=882204

Michael R. Asimow (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Room 241
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
650-723-2431 (Phone)
650-725-0253 (Fax)

Steve Greenfield

University of Westminster - School of Law ( email )

309 Regent Street
London, W1R 8AL
United Kingdom

Stefan Machura

Bangor University School of Social Sciences ( email )

Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2DG
United Kingdom

Guy Osborn

University of Westminster - School of Law ( email )

4 Little Titchfield Street
London, England W1W 7UW
United Kingdom

Peter Robson

University of Strathclyde - School of Law ( email )

Lord Hope Building
John Anderson Campus 141 St. James' Rd
Glasgow G4 0LT, Scotland G4 0LT
United Kingdom

Robert Sockloskie

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States

Cassandra Sharp

University of Wollongong ( email )

Northfields Avenue
Wollongong, New South Wales 2522
Australia

Guillermo Jorge

University of Buenos Aires (UBA) ( email )

Buenos Aires
Argentina

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