Following significant changes in the legal profession since the 1980s, how do new organizational forms and actors at the edge of the law impact upon our understanding of the changing nature of the core values of mainstream legal professionalism? This methodological approach brings together a series of case studies built on original empirical research and focuses on those operating at the margins of legal professionalism in England and Wales. Also including comparative material on the US and Canada, the issues discussed are relevant for common law countries more generally and the analysis reveals the ways in which an increasingly fluid, fragmented and heterogeneous legal profession is responding to the challenges it faces in the early twenty-first century.
'Professions are paragons of inertia: once they achieve market control and respectability they stoutly defend the status quo in the name of a timeless "professionalism". English lawyers are the worst offenders. Change, when it occurs, comes from the periphery and from outside. Andrew Francis's book is a path-breaking account of how relatively marginal actors in the English legal profession are forcing change on a reluctant core.' Richard Abel, University of California, Los Angeles, USA 'By focussing on the mainstream activities of lawyers we forget how much legal work is done by others in legal services. Andrew Francis takes us by the hand to the edge so that we can peer over and see for the first time what these "edge-workers" are doing. Covering legal executives, multidisciplinary trusts and estates personnel, and the potentially new organizations that will evolve from the Legal Services Act, these marginal workers are now leading the legal profession in new and exciting directions.' John Flood, University of Westminster, UK and University of Miami, USA 'I was hooked... The arguments made are convincing and the empirical work is used well throughout to bring home points and illustrate arguments. All [substantive chapters] were fascinating. The book as a whole pushed me to reconsider my preconceptions of what the legal professions are and should be.' The Law Teacher 'At the Edge of Law constitutes a welcome addition to the literature on both the legal services market in England and Wales, and on legal professionalism itself...The notion of ’edge-worker’ that Francis introduces deserves to be taken very seriously in charting the potentially seismic changes that are now re-shaping the UK legal services market... This is a book that is ahead of its time, [and] it makes an important contribution to the field... At the Edge of Law both provides an excellent mapping (in Chapter 2) of the main theoretical frameworks, and makes its own, relatively distinctive, contri