Date of Award

12-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Jerry Willis

Second Supervisor

Mark Villanti

Abstract

In the past, research on consumer dissatisfaction with legal services tended to be quantitative in nature, and focused primarily on consumer opinion of the legal profession. These quantitative studies have been valuable in gaining a basic understanding of consumer consensus of legal services and the legal profession. However, a qualitative understanding of the complexity of the personal dissatisfaction experience with legal services, as well as the psychological and social meanings and consequences of these experiences, is an important contribution to the literature. This dissertation provides a qualitative view of the experience of consumer dissatisfaction with legal services in Manhattan, NY. An interpretative phenomenological analysis using semi-structured interviews was used to examine the dissatisfaction experiences of four participants. The analysis resulted in five super-ordinate themes and their accompanying sub-themes. The super-ordinate themes are: (a) disconfirmation of expectations leads to alienation, (b) rationalizing disconfirmation experience, (c) resisting alienation by developing coping mechanisms, (d) psychological reactions, and (e) desire for measures that would confirm expectations. The study used existing literature to clarify the results, and make recommendations. Information from this study could provide direction to the New York State legislature and to the legal profession as a whole, as to how to respond to the complex phenomenon of consumer dissatisfaction with legal services.

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