Too many students aspire to be Harvey Specter ‘rainmakers’, says law school director

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By Katie King on

It’s not what firms want

Spending hours watching legal dramas instead of working on your employability skills is not the best way to make yourself a good lawyer.

Suits may be the biggest culprit of all. The US TV series is a big hit among law students, and has now been given a new lease of life since Prince Harry began dating one of the show’s actresses.

While binge-watching episodes every now and then isn’t going to hurt you, Jo-Anne Pugh fears too many youngsters are deriving their perception of the law from Suits and the like. Pugh, the director of LPC programmes at BPP Law School, continues:

[Some students] don’t understand that law firms will want recruits who can add value in very different ways and don’t just want the Harvey Specter ‘rainmakers’ and deal brokers who have been traditionally feted.

One of the best ways to impress law firms, Pugh says, is to be technologically savvy. She continues:

You also need to consider the potential role that artificial intelligence and big data could have, and indeed already is starting to have, on the sector. While machines aren’t set to replace lawyers just yet, estimates on tasks that are automatable range from 13-23%. That too will have a big impact on the type of person that firms will be looking to hire.

Pugh’s comments come off the back of new research by BPP into the future of legal practice.

Its prediction: there will be gender parity at senior partner level come 2037. Currently 47% of all lawyers are women, but this will rise to 71% in the next two decades, Pugh believes. There’s certainly enough female talent coming through the system to make this possible — 61% of law graduates are female, and applications by women to study law at university now outnumber men two to one.

By comparison, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) has predicted it’ll be 2067 before half of QCs are women.

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