Tuesday, September 26, 2006

legal life...

Christchurch is a very small town when it comes to lawyers. 400,000 people live in the city, but you can fit the names of all of the lawyers here onto one sheet of A4 paper (the first time I saw my name on that piece of paper was pretty cool). Everyone knows each other, everyone knows which associate is sleeping with which partner at which firm (the rules of professional conduct prevent me from saying more on that one, but it's a juicy story), and the strange thing about being part of a "profession" is that you can have a huge argument with someone on the phone or face them in court one day, and go out drinking with them the next.

I still find it weird to have people I know on the other end of a dispute or negotiation though. Often these people have been teachers or mentors in the past, on the one hand you want to be nice to them but on the other you want to be as professional as possible to impress them and let them know their teaching hasn't gone to waste! It is definitely a strange world I live in...

What does "profession" mean to you? In my law school ethics class (a compulsory course, you will be pleased to learn) we discussed this and decided that essential elements of a profession are:
1. Independent/self-governing
2. Fiduciary relationship with clients
3. Code of ethics
4. Specialised knowledge/training (this sort of leads to the fiduciary relationship as clients have to put trust in you to know what you are doing)

I count lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants, surveyors, and engineers as "professionals". Some people would widen that a lot further, to include teachers, nurses, etc etc. What do you think?

ETA: I wish you anonymous commenters would identify yourselves! Also, I promise a reply to anyone who leaves their email address.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool. Geeking isn't a profession. 8)

[No ethics]

8:41 PM  
Anonymous KRN said...

Ah. Forgot to add the signature - too used to being logged in on LJ.

3:09 PM  

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