The Solicitors Regulation Authority has bowed to fierce opposition from universities and law schools, and put its plans to introduce a new centralised assessment test for future solicitors on hold. The SRA’s board was due to decide on whether to go ahead at its meeting yesterday.
DAS Law – the alternative business structure set up by the eponymous legal expenses insurer – is launching a pioneering graduate academy for “lawyers of the future”, with the first six recruits starting next month. Staff numbers at the firm have doubled to around 220 since it was created in 2013.
Paul Philip, chief executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, has announced a rethink on plans to abolish the minimum period of workplace training required by all future solicitors. Meanwhile, the regulator also yesterday launched ‘Law Firm Search’, a new searchable, online database of the law firms it regulates.
There is a big gap in the way partners and fee-earners at medium-sized law firms view where they work, including “an exaggerated sense of progressiveness among decision-makers”, a new report has found. Partners were far more confident than fee-earners that their firm had a “clear strategy for the future”.
Eversheds and BPP University Law School have launched a six-year apprenticeship scheme leading to qualification as a solicitor. The law firm is believed to be the first to launch a scheme at this level, but its shape depends partly on the fate of the Solicitors Qualification Examination.
Plans by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to introduce a centrally assessed Solicitors Qualifying Examination could create an “even greater diversity problem” for the profession, the Law Society has warned. The society said it could be a “huge issue for those without financial support”.
Small law firms have the most to lose if a Solicitors Qualifying Examination is introduced as it may downgrade the value of being part of the profession, a leading legal academic has warned. Professor Anthony Bradney said the exam could be a way for solicitors to “very rapidly lose their reputation”.
Confusion among solicitors is the biggest challenge to the hours-free competence regime introduced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, a survey has suggested. The second biggest challenge was that “solicitors think they won’t have to do any training”.
Solicitors should abandon the concept of “perfection” and concentrate instead on improving their performance, a City training chief has said. The legal learning leader at Hogan Lovells said the firm was one of the first big practices to opt into the new non-point based CPD regime introduced in April.
The Law Society has condemned plans by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to revolutionise the training of solicitors, warning that they could “promote nepotism” and favour “wealthier students”. The plans include introduction of a Solicitors Qualifying Examination.