Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds[Music] I’m Dr Steven Vaughan, Senior Lecturer in the Law School at the University of Birmingham. I began my career as a corporate lawyer working in the City of London before I made the move into academia. Here in Birmingham, the Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research is a core part of our Law School. I’m CEPLER’s Director of Research and the Centre acts as a bridge between the academic world of law and the world of legal practice. Around 400,000 people work in legal services in England & Wales and the sector contributes £27bn to the economy each year.
Skip to 0 minutes and 44 seconds As individuals we turn to lawyers at some of the most important times in our lives - times of opportunity, crisis and stress: if we get divorced, if someone dies, if we buy a house. And as businesses, we turn to lawyers to help structure transactions, to buy and sell companies, to raise finance, and to conduct litigation. Independent from the state, lawyers are a critical part of the rule of law, a core element in our society. But what we do we really know about them? From TV and from film, we might think it’s all about criminal law and courtroom drama, but the real world of lawyering is far more complex, far more diverse and far, far more interesting.
Skip to 1 minute and 35 seconds [Music] CEPLER’s academics are experts in lawyers’ ethics, in the regulation of legal services, and in legal education.
Skip to 1 minute and 35 seconds As such we are uniquely placed to open up to you the world of lawyering and to engage you in challenging questions about the proper role of lawyers in society and about lawyers’ ethics: how we might decide whether what lawyers do is right or wrong. My own particular area of research looks at corporate and finance lawyers advising multinational corporation from in some of the world’s largest law firms. These law firms employ thousands of lawyers based in dozens of offices across the globe and they’re billion dollar businesses.
Skip to 2 minutes and 9 seconds In this free course we’ll look at what those corporate lawyers actually do, we’ll ask whether they’re too close to their corporate clients, and we’ll look at the ethical challenges and dilemmas that they face, all wrapped and framed in the research I’ve undertaken on the world’s largest firms. During the course we will speak with lawyers in practice, with the regulators, with CEPLER’s experts, with law students and with members of the public – we will ask whether these lawyers get paid too much money? What does it mean to be a professional? And how do we decide if a lawyer has acted unethically?
Skip to 2 minutes and 59 seconds We will invite you to share your experiences and your opinions, and to join us in debating these key issues, that are so important, both for lawyers in practice and for society as a whole. [Music] Join us as we begin our study of lawyers, their proper role in society and fascinating questions of legal ethics in the real world.