Exploring ‘Practical’ Conceptions of the Role of the Criminal Defence Lawyer: A Methodological Overview
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This article examines the methodology behind an empirical study investigating the ‘real life’ role of criminal defence lawyers and their approach to ethical conflict resolution. Using a normative conceptual framework entitled the ‘zealous advocate’ model, the study involved interviews with defence practitioners. A central feature of the interviews was a method known as the ‘vignette technique’, which used hypothetical scenarios to simulate realistic ‘conflict’ situations for respondents to consider. This article summarises the theory behind the study, examines the methodological issues of empirical research with lawyers, examines the benefits and limitations of the ‘vignette technique’, and details the construction of the ‘Professional Conduct Scenarios’ which were used in the study.
Smith, T. (2013) 'Exploring ‘Practical’ Conceptions of the Role of the Criminal Defence Lawyer: A Methodological Overview', Plymouth Law and Criminal Justice Review, 5, pp. 50-71. Available at: https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk/handle/10026.1/8989
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