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The Poor Public Image of Lawyers - Coursework Example

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"The Poor Public Image of Lawyers" essay discusses the popular image of lawyers and the legal profession across the globe and explores why this image does not always conform to the highest standards. This essay explores the extent to which the image of lawyers reflects the reality of their function. …
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Download file to see previous pages Finally, some light will also be shed on what steps have been taken to improve the poor public image of lawyers, and what more requires to be done.

When the Gallup Organisation conducts its annual survey of professions, the American public consistently ranks nursing as the most honest and ethical profession. Other medical professions are also highly regarded. The legal profession, on the other hand, finds itself close to the bottom of the list- after car salesmen, HMO managers, insurance salesmen, advertising executives and stockbrokers! Indeed, only 16% of all those surveyed rate the honesty and ethics of lawyers as ‘high’.1 There is perhaps no singular reason for this poor public image, but is rather based on a collection of some misconstrued facts about lawyers and the work they do.

One factor that contributes to the poor public image of lawyers is the hefty salary many of them take home. With six figure salaries not being uncommon amongst lawyers in the UK and around the world, they are perceived as greedy and gluttonous. While lawyers have generally been generously paid, it is only in recent times that law firms’ profit and lawyers’ salaries are published for all to see.2 Resentment of the privileged in society is not uncommon, especially when they are not seen to give back enough through charity or pro bono work. A related cause of the poor public image of lawyers is the limited availability of Legal Aid funding.3 Indeed, the high fees charged by lawyers deny many of the less privileged access to quality legal advice and representation in the absence of some form of public funding. However, not only is this funding limited, but it also fails to guarantee access to the most competent lawyers- many who undertake legal aid work are underpaid and therefore under-committed to their clients.   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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