Innovative legal businesses such as Riverview Law, Co-operative Legal Services and Parabis are demanding a new approach to educating and training new lawyers as they create different roles for them, such as project management and data analysis.
The Legal Services Act will play a role in transforming the legal market around the world, with English lawyers well placed to take advantage as a result, Professor Richard Susskind predicted last week. He also gave a preview of his new book – Tomorrow’s lawyers: An introduction to your future.
The College of Law is to target expansion of its new undergraduate law degree following its sale to Montague Private Equity. The deal separates the legal education and training business from the college’s charitable activities, with the proceeds of the sale going into a £200m-plus fund.
More common training of would-be lawyers, sector-wide CPD, and scrapping the training contract and pupillage, are among the “more radical” options being considered by the Legal Education and Training Review, according to its first discussion paper, issued yesterday.
While alternative business structures are gaining all the headlines right now, something perhaps even more fundamental is going on this year: the Legal Education and Training Review. Many know it’s happening, but I suspect few quite understand how radically it could reshape the foundation of becoming a lawyer. I don’t think I did until last week, when I attended the first of a series of five seminars being run by the Legal Services Board, this one in association with the Legal Services Institute.
Students taking an aptitude test designed to weed out those likely to fail the Bar training course could be given a once-only opportunity to pass, it has emerged, after members of the Bar Standards Board raised questions about the policy of allowing unlimited attempts.
Legal education and training are unfit for purpose, causing lawyers to fail to meet the needs of clients and leaving the profession exposed to rival market entrants filling the gaps, according to Professor Stephen Mayson.
It wasn’t that long ago that you didn’t need a degree to become a solicitor. There are plenty of very eminent solicitors around who joined a law firm after school and did the old five-year articles to qualify. In fact training to be a solicitor started off purely as an apprenticeship in the form of articles of clerkship, with no examinations.
Increases in tuition fees means the overall cost of a law degree is nearly £90,000 and only half of lawyers would have gone to university had it cost as much when they studied, a survey has found. Legal recruiter Laurence Simons argued that this shows UK universities are failing and need to adopt the controversial approach of the philosopher AC Grayling, who is setting up a new private university, and also embrace apprenticeships.
There are a number of risks and dangers associated with using an aptitude test to select law students – particularly that it will favour those from privileged and certain class and ethnic backgrounds – a report commissioned by the Legal Services Board has concluded.