RATES OF RETURN TO THE LEGAL PROFESSION IN SCOTLAND*

AuthorCHARLES MULVEY
Publication Date01 Nov 1980
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9485.1980.tb00930.x
Scortrsk
Journal
of
Politicd Erunurny.
Vol.
27,
No.
3,
November
1980
0
1980
Scottish
Economic
Society
0036
Y292/XO/OOIX1J250
PO2
(10
RATES
OF RETURN
TO
THE LEGAL
PROFESSION
IN
SCOTLAND*
CHARLES
MULVEY
University
of
Glasyo
w
This paper presents estimated private internal rates of return to the two
branches of the Scottish legal profession, Solicitors and Advocates (Barristers).
While the methodology employed in making the estimates is conventional,
there are certain novel features involved in this study. Moreover, this is the
first serious attempt to estimate a rate of return to the legal profession in
Britain
so
far as
I
am aware.’
The paper
is
structured as follows: in Section
1
a brief description
of
the
Scottish legal profession
is
presented;
in
Section
2
we describe the data
employed; in Section
3
certain assumptions are made and the estimates
presented; and
in
Section
4
we draw comparisons with other studies and
some conclusions are suggested.
I
THE SCOTTISH
LEGAL
PROFESSION
Scots Law is different from the law in the remainder
of
the U.K. and the
legal profession is, at all levels, therefore contained within Scotland and is
distinct from the legal profession in the rest
of
the
U.K.
(a)
Solicitors
The Roll of Solicitors maintained by the Law Society
of
Scotland records
that there are
4,300
Solicitors, whether practising or not, who are eligible to
practise in Scotland. Solicitors on the Roll fall into the following categories
:
profit sharing partners
;
salaried partners
;
qualified assistants
;
consultants
;
and those who are employed in industry, commerce and local and central
government. The vast majority of Solicitors in Scotland work in private
practice
(80
per cent)
in
some
965
firms. Few Scottish Solicitors are appointed
to judicial office--in
1977
only
27
former Solicitors held appointments as
*
This study was made possible by the generous co-operation
of
the Royal Commission on
Legal Services in Scotland, the Law Society
of
Scotland and the Faculty
of
Advocates in Scotland.
The
views expressed in the paper are not however necessarily endorsed by any
of
these bodies.
I
am indebted to Laurie Hunter, Richard Layard and Alan McGregor for helpfnl comments on
a previous draft although responsibility
for
remaining errors is mine alone.
Date
of
rcceipt of final manuscript:
19
December
1979
Seibert
(1977)
reports an estimated rate
of
return
to
“Legal Services” in England and Wales
for
1966/67
but fails to state his
source
of data, methodology or any other details
of
how his
estimate was made.
250

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