For those who don't fancy wading through the traditional legal press's long-winded deconstructions of the freshly-released Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) — or indeed reading the 335 page report itself — here are ten tweets that help you understand what the biggest review of legal education in a generation means.
The much-criticised BPTC stays.
As does the LPC, but the distinction between vocational education, training contracts and apprenticeships will blur.
The fusion of solicitors and barristers some had predicted isn't going to happen.
There has been a formal acknowledgement that the patience of increasingly broke students is wearing thin as job opportunities fall...
...which will lead to more emphasis on part-time courses...
...rather than an aptitude test.
The legal aid cuts will have an impact on how future lawyers are taught.
But most of all, the LETR — which took over two years to produce and has been subject to various delays — was greeted with a sense of anti-climax.
The top LETR tweeters (click to enlarge) — via Ann Priestley
In full: the Legal Education and Training Review.
The final report of the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) – potentially the biggest shake-up of legal education in three decades – was due last month. But as yet there has been no sign of it...
There have been murmurings as far back as autumn 2011 that LETR was going to struggle to keep its December 2012 deadline.
But there remains no mention of any delay on the LETR website, or the websites of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and Bar Standards Board (BSB) – which continue to state that LETR's final recommendations "will be published in December 2012".
The only clue as to when we'll get to see the final report can be found in a tweet issued by the LETR Twitter account in November in response to a question by a journalist. It confirms, in a rather round about way, that the report has indeed been delayed. I wonder why LETR hasn't placed this useful piece of information on its website?
In comparison to our odd system of legal education – which sprawls haphazardly from the undergraduate law degree to the CILEX apprenticeship option, via the super-condensed GDL, multiple breeds of LPC and the career graveyard that is the BPTC – the US way of doing things is alluringly simple.
In America, you can only study law as a three-year postgraduate degree. At which point you sit a Bar exam. Then you’re a lawyer. The downside is the inflexibility, slow pace and high cost (over £30,000 a year in fees alone at the top US law schools)...
Legal Cheek editor Alex Aldridge and Bircham Dyson Bell solicitor Kevin Poulter discuss the big issues awaiting the next wave of lawyer wannabes as they begin the new academic year.
What chance do those who are starting the LPC without a training contract stand of finishing the course with a job?
Will the soon-to-be-concluded Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) fundamentally alter the path to becoming a lawyer?
How should trainees and pupils play it as they begin their training contracts and pupillages amid wider uncertainty about the economy?
The Junior Lawyers Division of the Law Society (JLD) has launched an essay competition for LPC students, paralegals and trainee solicitors.
The essay question is 'What impact should the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill have on the Legal Education and Training Review?'
Essays must be no more than 2,000 words in length. The winner will receive a prize of £500 and the runners up will net £250. Entries must be submitted by email to email@example.com – the closing date is 23 July 2012 (there’s more info here).
Inspired by this idea, Legal Cheek is launching its own blog competition – for which a lucky winner will receive the lovely matching cap and t-shirt pictured below (a present, since you ask, from my dad, who has a strange sense of humour, but sadly the fit isn't quite right...).
At the end of the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) symposium yesterday, I got chatting with Linda Jotham, a senior lecturer at City Law School.
As I groaned about the difficulties facing the LETR panel in coming up with a new system of legal education that keeps everyone happy – we’d just sat through a debate featuring solicitors, barristers, legal executives and academics who could hardly agree on anything – Jotham surprised me.
She told me that the earlier discussion group she'd been part of had come up with a win-win solution (based on an idea mooted by LSE's Julia Black).
Here it is...
This week is Bar social mobility placement week, with 69 high-achieving students from low-performing state schools getting to spend a few days hanging out in the Inns of Court with barristers and judges.
Sadly, though, the scheme is only open to students in London schools, automatically precluding wannabe barristers from many of the poorest areas in the country.
There is no equivalent regional programme...
The chairman of the Bar Council was recently reported in the Evening Standard saying that there are not enough pupillages for those trying to enter the Bar. This is not new, but that is not to say that it should not be news, writes The Law Horse.
Every BPTC student gambles tens of thousands of pounds on their legal future, only for most to find that they are one of hundreds betting on diminishingly slim odds of securing a pupillage. It is disconcerting – the more so as the problem worsens – and Michael Todd QC is right to give light to the issue. To dismiss his concerns as “scaremongering” while your organisation profits from selling false hope is flatly dishonest.
If the issue is old, so are the touted solutions. Without of course wishing to pre-empt the self-indulgently expensive white elephant that is the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR), there are five broad solutions to consider.
Three weeks on from the scrapping of the trainee minimum wage and the decision looks more ill-thought through than ever, argues Oxford University Bachelor of Civil Laws (BCL) student Richard Ridyard
The thousands of LPC graduates without a training contract have choked off the arteries of confidence in the legal graduate market. We find ourselves at a crossroads. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has made a bold step by abolishing the minimum wage for trainee solicitors. But now that the dust has settled and we have had a chance to reflect on that decision, was it the right one? Here, I argue that the four reasons Legal Cheek gave to explain why the SRA acted as it did are flawed.
Yesterday I urged the assembled luminaries at the Westminster Legal Policy Forum to do something about the scandalous situation surrounding entry to the Bar (according to one estimate by the Bar Council itself, as few as one in eight students who do the BPTC get a pupillage).
Rather than go on about unsuccessful pupillage-seekers' misery, or law schools' fat profits, I focused instead on how bad it looks to the rest of the world that all it takes to get the title of English barrister is a spare £16k and a 2.2 degree.
This racket has been going on for a good while now, and internationally the message is sinking in that what is perceived to be the top legal qualification in England can be bought (in the US, on the other hand, where entry to Ivy League law schools is tightly controlled, becoming a top lawyer is seen as requiring brains)...