The govern-ment’s decision last week to scrap training grants for would-be legal aid lawyers was as inevitable as it was sad, and was all the more pointed for coming the day after the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) named law firms as the highest-paying graduate employers.
Legal aid firms are not paying that much but hundreds of law students have been able to take their first steps in such practices thanks to the grants scheme. Last week, however, the Ministry of Justice said that while the grant scheme was “a laudable idea”, its time had passed: “Many firms offer training contracts without being funded by a grant. And there are alternative routes into practice, for example through the paralegal route.”
Such blithe confidence about the future of legal aid doesn’t hide the fact that things are far from rosy for law students. The AGR research also revealed that law firms expect to have 12% fewer vacancies, against an average of 6.9% across graduate recruiters. But this is not stopping law schools churning out thousands of aspiring lawyers.
For the rest of this article, see my blog on the Guardian’s Law website here.