Steven Vaughan

Steven Vaughan

Dr Steven Vaughan is a solicitor and academic who researches lawyers' ethics and regulation in the Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research (CEPLER) at the University of Birmingham.

Location Birmingham, UK


  • I think that's really interesting - one idea from theories about ethics is that someone needs to have the "moral courage" to act in certain situations

  • Thanks Amy. Hope you enjoy Week 3. The Week 2 content will still be there if you need or want to go back and look at anything again

  • Hi Andrew. Have you read 'The Children Act' by Ian McEwan? He wrote after a dinner with Ward LJ (the judge in 'Re A', the conjoined twins case you mention). It's a great piece of fiction that ties complex legal dilemmas into an overarching narrative.

  • There's next week... :o)

  • Hi Taylor, that's exactly what next week is focused on. So, just a few days to wait!

  • Lots more to come in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully some of your questions will get answered then!

  • Thanks Julia. Each week gets more focused. So to legal ethics as one aspect of legal services regulation next week and then legal ethics inside large law firms in the final week

  • Thanks Linah!

  • Me too Louise, am much looking forward to next week!

  • Thanks Emmanuel. Glad you are enjoying it

  • The term 'advocate' is also used in Scotland. And we have 'Solicitor Advocates' in England and Wales who do specialist court work. These two links might be interesting and

  • Thanks for me too. Great article

  • Sadly we're focusing on solicitors in this course, so the wigs won't be making much of an appearance!

  • Thanks everyone for all of your comments so far. Really interesting. I guess some of them make me wonder: if you went to a 'lawyer' and got legal advice, would you care if that person had a professional qualification or not? Or would you be more interested in the quality of the advice, not the certificates held by the person giving the advice?

  • I think it depends on what we mean by "medicine" and what we mean by "practice"... So, for example, not everyone in a hospital is a qualified doctor and medical work can be parceled out into different bits done by different people... But I take your point! We are somewhat unusual in having the reserved/unreserved divide

  • Steven Vaughan replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    Hi Ken. You can find out more about the LSB's governance arrangements here if you want to read further:

  • Me too... but I wonder if that's all there is to it. I am still clinging to the now somewhat out of fashion idea that being a professional includes a commitment to the public good (alongside expertise)

  • I thought that was interesting too. Is it because people want to think of themselves as professionals? And also want to think positively about themselves?

  • Thanks Michael for that link. The CILEX website is definitely the best place to start

  • Hi Chris. This course focuses on solicitors. If you want to learn more about the other forms of lawyer, you can learn about them on the websites of their respective regulators. This link sets out the various regulators:

  • Hi Francis. These links might help: and - the definitions in the statute aren't actually very helpful I am afraid! It's somewhat circular.

  • Hi Georgia. Negative attitudes might also make people less likely to go and see a lawyer when they really need legal advice. In this way, trust in the legal profession might go hand in hand with whether or not legal need is met.

  • Hi Alfred. The definition in the SRA Glossary is only how the SRA defines 'lawyer' (i.e. what it means when it uses the word lawyer in its regulation and policy). The actual word 'lawyer' is not protect and can mean a lot more than what is in the SRA Glossary. Hope this helps, Steven

  • I think the language point is really interesting here. I often tell my students that law is basically about rhetoric (i.e. about persuasion through the use of language)

  • Even if that is right (and I am not saying it is), isn't it important what the public thinks about lawyers? If, for example, someone thinks lawyers are cold/arrogant, they might be unwilling to go to them for legal advice when that advice is needed?

  • Thanks Christiana. Are there enough jobs in law in Ghana for those coming in to Law School? This is something people over here debate (whether we have 'too many' law students).

  • You might find it interesting that >50% of all newly qualified solicitors do not have an undergraduate law degree. Instead, they studied something else at that level (art, history, english, maths, the sciences etc etc) and then did a one year 'conversion' course in Law.

  • Hi Linah, It's the market that sets how many jobs there are for those wanting to enter the profession (i.e. law firms, barristers' chambers, the government, other employers each say how many trainee solicitors and barrister pupils they want each year). Historically, there have been more solicitors than barristers as there is more work for the former and the...

  • Thanks for this Grant. Very interesting. You may already know of this research on the quality of legal services, by the Legal Services Board, but, if not, here is a link:

  • Hi Lydia, this is a mistake! Will correct the page now. Sorry about this

  • Ah, silly typo! Thanks Michael. Will go change that now

  • Thanks Katie, this is a very helpful blog. It's a little bit out of date and the differences between solicitors and barristers are even fewer. This article is more up to date:

  • Thanks Katie, this is a very helpful blog. It's a little bit out of date and the differences between solicitors and barristers are even fewer. This article is more up to date:

  • Will be great to get your insights Katie

  • Hope you enjoy it Tanya!

  • That's great to hear, thanks Cecilia. Really hope you enjoy the course

  • Looking forward to sharing this course with you Carlos

  • Afternoon
    I'm Steven, an academic at the Law School at the University of Birmingham. I research corporate lawyers (ethics, regulation, history etc) and legal education, and am interested in character from that angle.