Biglaw, Magic Circle

British Biglaw: Home for ‘Elites’

British aristocrat lawyer.JPGDespite the difficult state of the legal industry, a British research group has found that the profession is still an elite profession that attracts blue-blooded talent. The results of the Centre for Market and Public Organisation elitism research are published in The Lawyer:

Research conducted for The Lawyer by the Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) at Bristol University, taking wealth to be an indicator of social standing, compared the average monthly family income for lawyers born in 1958 with those born in 1970.

Family income isn’t the only measure of being “elite.” For instance, the study doesn’t take into account the serf to family member ratio of young future lawyers, or if one can put the writings of Dostoyevsky in the proper historical context.

Nonetheless, the results from across the pond are pretty striking, and makes one wonder if there are any class barriers that American lawyers must overcome.

More details after the jump.


The Lawyer and the Centre for Market and Public Organisation found that British lawyers come from a more privileged background than other professions:

The average family income for lawyers born in 1958 was £1,900 a month, 22 per cent higher than the average for other professionals.

For lawyers born in 1970 this gap had increased to 27 per cent, with family income rising to £2,345 compared with £1,845 for the families of doctors, accountants and architects.

But when I think of American lawyers, I generally don’t think of a collection of silver spooned hemophiliacs. The law, especially Biglaw, doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you get into if you have family money. With a trust fund and access to the best education in the world, it seems like you could find something better to do with your time than working 2,000 – 3,000 hours a year.

In Britain, a place where class and “caste” sometimes gets confused, it looks like there is much consternation over the barriers for entry into the legal profession:

Former Bar Council chairman Geoffrey Vos QC, who sits on the Government’s social mobility commission, said: “I fully accept that the law has a disproportionate number of people from a privileged background. That’s what we’re trying to change.”

Is this a problem in America? If so, is it a problem that American lawyers remotely care about?

Legal profession’s elitism gap gets wider [The Lawyer]

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