Podcast

If You Put Trainee Solicitors On Housing Benefits, You Cut The Price Of Law School, Right?

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Following the announcement by the Law Society that trainee solicitors on housing benefit is “not the type of image that benefits the profession”, Legal Cheek editor Alex Aldridge and Bircham Dyson Bell lawyer Kevin Poulter discuss the wisdom of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) proposal to abandon the minimum trainee salary and pay rookie solicitors apprentice rates of just £2.60 an hour.

Is the Law Society being snooty?

Or does the status of trainee solicitors need protecting?

Poulter reckons solicitors should be treated as professionals rather than trades-people, but Aldridge isn’t so sure, pointing out that scrapping the minimum trainee wage would help the many legal aid law firms who currently can’t afford to put students through training contracts.

Of course, if you cut the amount trainees earn, you’ve got to cut the cost of legal education, right?

However, neither Poulter nor Aldridge is convinced that the ongoing Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) will see a reduction in the cost of law school…

Indeed, Aldridge reckons it might go up, as the possible scrapping of training contracts and pupillages puts pressure on law schools to provide more rigorous training. The impact on social mobility of such an outcome worries Poulter, who fears the next generation of working class kids may struggle to emulate his Dick Whittington-like journey from a Doncaster comprehensive to London legal glory.

Listen to the fascinating insights provided by the pair below.

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