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  • Development of a competence

    statement for solicitors

    Research Report

    Development of a competence statement for solicitors

    Prepared for: Solicitors Regulation Authority

    Prepared by: BMG Research

  • Development of a competence statement for solicitors

    Prepared for: Solicitors Regulation Authority

    Prepared by: June Wiseman, Lys Coleman, Philip Roe, Gemma Baker

    Date: August 2014

    Produced by BMG Research

    © Bostock Marketing Group Ltd, 2014

    www.bmgresearch.co.uk

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  • Executive Summary

    1

    Table of Contents

    Executive Summary ............................................................................................................ 8

    Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 8

    Initial research and design ................................................................................................. 8

    A quantitative research programme ................................................................................... 9

    Ratings of the Competence Statement ............................................................................ 10

    Variations between different groups of respondents ........................................................ 12

    Variations between practitioners and consumer groups ................................................... 13

    Adjustments to the Competence Statement ..................................................................... 14

    Conclusions ..................................................................................................................... 15

    1 Introduction: context for, and objectives of, the study .......................................... 16

    2 Research method and sampling approach .............................................................. 18

    2.2 Questionnaire ....................................................................................................... 27

    2.3 Interpreting the data in this report ......................................................................... 30

    3 Practitioners – overview of key findings .................................................................. 31

    3.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................... 31

    3.2 Respondent profile ................................................................................................ 31

    3.3 Summary of practitioner ratings ............................................................................ 33

    3.4 Practitioner views on the Competence Statement as a whole ............................... 40

    4 Practitioners – views on different elements of the Statement ................................ 44

    4.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................... 44

    4.2 Competence Statement Section A: Ethics, professionalism and judgement ......... 46

    4.3 Competence Statement Section B: Technical legal practice ................................ 54

    4.4 Competence Statement Section C: Managing self and own work ........................ 66

    4.5 Competence Statement Section D: Working with other people ............................ 71

    4.6 Legal knowledge: areas of additional knowledge required and ‘awareness’ as a

    descriptor of the appropriate level required ...................................................................... 77

    5 Practitioners – differences between sub-groups ..................................................... 81

    5.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................... 81

    5.2 Gender .................................................................................................................. 81

    5.3 Age ....................................................................................................................... 86

    5.4 Ethnicity ................................................................................................................ 90

    5.5 Type of practice .................................................................................................... 94

  • Development of a competence statement for solicitors

    2

    5.6 Area of law ............................................................................................................ 98

    6 Main Findings – Individual consumers................................................................... 103

    6.1 Introduction ......................................................................................................... 103

    6.2 Competence Statement Section A: Ethics, professionalism and judgement ........ 103

    6.3 Competence Statement Section B: Technical legal practice .............................. 106

    6.4 Competence Statement Section C: Managing themselves and their own work .. 108

    6.5 Competence Statement Section D: Working with other people .......................... 110

    6.6 Overview of individual consumers’ ratings of the elements of the Statement....... 112

    6.7 Individual consumers’ views on the Statement as a whole .................................. 114

    6.8 Differences between subgroups of individual consumers .................................... 118

    7 Main Findings – Business consumers ................................................................... 122

    7.1 Introduction ......................................................................................................... 122

    7.2 Profile of business consumers ............................................................................ 122

    7.3 Competence Statement Section A: Ethics, professionalism and judgement ....... 124

    7.4 Competence Statement Section B: Technical legal practice .............................. 127

    7.5 Competence Statement Section C: Managing themselves and their own work .. 129

    7.6 Competence Statement Section D: Working with other people .......................... 132

    7.7 Overview of business consumers’ ratings of the elements of the Statement ....... 134

    7.8 Business consumers’ views on the Statement as a whole ................................... 136

    7.9 Differences between sub-groups of business consumers.................................... 138

    8 Overview ................................................................................................................... 143

    8.1 Introduction ......................................................................................................... 143

    8.2 Overall level of endorsement of the Statement .................................................... 143

    8.3 Variations between different groups of respondents ............................................ 143

    8.4 Variation between practitioners and consumers .................................................. 145

    8.5 Adjustments to the Statement ............................................................................. 148

    8.6 Conclusion .......................................................................................................... 148

    9 Appendix 1 – Weighting procedure for the practitioner sample ........................... 149

    9.1 Weighting by business type ................................................................................ 149

    9.2 Weighting by number of solicitors ....................................................................... 149

    Appendix: Statement of Terms ...................................................................................... 151

  • Executive Summary

    3

    Table of Figures

    Figure 1: Practitioners: Areas of law currently practised (%) (mentions 2% or more)........... 33

    Figure 2: Practitioners: Importance of different aspects to solicitor competence (%) ........... 35

    Figure 3: Practitioners: Importance of different aspects to personal practice (%) ................ 36

    Figure 4: Practitioners: Overall vs Personal importance of all aspects of the Statement ...... 39

    Figure 5: Practitioners: Adequacy of the Statement (%) ...................................................... 40

    Figure 6: Practitioners: