Uber-regulator takes heavy incoming fire after proposing yet another round of legal education navel gazing for later this year
City solicitors have fired a warning shot at regulators over education and training, sternly advising that the last thing the profession needs is another drawn out review.
Responding to the recently published three-year strategic plan from uber-regulator the Legal Services Board (LSB), a senior official at the City of London Law Society said Square Mile lawyers would reel off their best impersonations of Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now!” if another round of soul searching were launched.
“We were horrified to read … that you will be considering a thematic review of education and training in 2015-16, or possibly 2016-17,” wrote David Hobart, the society’s chief executive.
Hobart — a former fly-boy, who was assistant chief of the defence staff in the Royal Air Force for three years before moving to pilot the Bar Council as chief executive — went on to tell the LSB:
“We have not yet reached the apex of the workload prompted by the interminable LETR [the previous legal education and training review that was more than two years in the making], and I do not expect any newly qualified entrants to appear before 2021 at the earliest. Thereafter we need some training stability to see how the new system works.”
He rounded out his blast by imploring the LSB:
“Please let this exhausted dog sleep for a few years.”
When a panel of great-and-good academics got round to reporting last time, they called on legal profession regulators to move towards greater common training for prospective solicitors and barristers, to inject a larger dose of ethics training into programmes and to expand non-graduate pathways to qualification.
Release of the last LETR report was delayed several times, but when it was published in June 2013 the recommendations received a lukewarm reception at best from some.
At the time, Elisabeth Davies, chairwoman of the Legal Services Consumer Panel, told The Lawyer magazine that the review was a “missed opportunity” that did little more than regurgitate longstanding proposals.