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Use government cash to fund training contracts, says Law Society

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Chancery Lane lays out coronavirus recovery plan

Law firms should be allowed to use government cash to help fund training contracts as part of a wider effort to get the economy back on its feet in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Law Society has said.

In a new recovery plan published today, Chancery Lane’s top brass called on the government to “empower law firms” to create new jobs by giving them the flexibility to spend the apprenticeship levy on a range of support.

The Law Society said the levy, a UK tax on law firms which can be used to fund paralegal and solicitor apprenticeships, could be put towards training contracts to “maintain the jobs pipeline for students about to complete the LPC [Legal Practice Course]”.

The cash could also help create specialist lawtech seats and training in lawtech skills, as well as training in secondary specialisations which will enable solicitors to move into other practice areas that have been less affected by the pandemic.

The proposals are part of a new Law Society campaign which aims to promote the role of the solicitors’ profession in the national move to re-open the country.

The initiative, ‘Return, Restart and Recovery’, will be in three stages: helping solicitors and firms return to their offices safely; helping solicitors and firms to restart the economy; and empowering solicitors and firms to drive the recovery after coronavirus.

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Simon Davis, president of the Law Society, said:

“Solicitors are ready, willing and able to play their role in helping Britain’s economy and society to recover from this pandemic. All across the country solicitors have worked tirelessly for their clients to ensure the highest standard of service. I am proud of the role solicitors have played to keep the wheels of justice turning through this extraordinarily challenging time.”

He continued: “As we enter this new phase of the response to coronavirus, with government beginning to lift some restrictions, it is clear that technology will play a vital role in driving the post-coronavirus recovery across all sectors of the economy, including legal services.”

The Law Society’s bold plans follow the news that a number of major law firms have deferred the start dates of their future trainees in light of the financial uncertainty brought about by COVID-19.

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18 Comments

Anonymous

WTF? Tax the firms to cripple them even more? Recessions happen. The market will meet the needs of recruitment. There is no need to falsely prop up the supply side of the profession when there is massive over-supply on the supply side, particularly when one is outside of the very top tier of the market. A supply side cull would probably be no bad thing.

Showround @ Bakers

Who knew the Law Society was as incompetent and stupid as the SRA.

Anon

You completely misunderstood the article. Firms already “pay” the apprenticeship levy. This would expand how they could send the money.

RT

Firms will be able to spend their levy funds on training Trainees, if they choose the SQE route via a post-graduate apprenticeship programme in 14 months time.

illiterate peasant, PhD

If firms use government money (redistributed or not) to prop up trainees then don’t be surprised when the same trainees fail to remain in practice/find a job elsewhere in two years time. The utter idiocy of this statement can only mean that it’s a publicity stunt and not a practicable suggestion.

Useless LLB Graduate

Off topic question for the reasonable and compassionate cohort of legalcheek commenters: is it worth applying for TCs right now? Some firms have outright paused recruitment so I’m unsure of whether there’s much point

RT

If vacancies are open, why not? Is your time/effort very precious right now?

Price Prior Partner

Of course it is. Will it be harder to be gain one? Yes. But plenty will still take a long term view and recruit pretty much a normal. Good Luck

No

There is a point. It will give you practice which will help you once conditions improve. Get any feedback you can from rejections and use this time to build up your CV and work experience (however you can) so you’ll be in a good position when firms are hiring again.

Pardna

Why the need to use money to fund trainees when there are so many out there to choose from as and when needed? These funds are meant to create completely different sorts of jobs. If there was a shortage of TC applicants things might be different, but all there is a shortage of is shredding bags to drop all the crap applications in.

J Pow

Ah yes, why didn’t I think of that instead of printing money and buying bonds to pump the markets?!

CMS Trainee

Unlike bootlegs firms like NRF, Ashurst and BCLP, CMS doesn’t need government hand outs. CMS = Elite.

Anon

Surely even you must be bored of the same crap joke on every article. Bore off

CMS Trainee

No. Now BTFO you low IQ bum.

Wonderin

Why waste money on training people with no jobs to do when they qualify ?

Disgruntled

It feels like some people have lost sight of the long term view that, all being well, in 2 years time those funded Trainees will be entering a different economic circumstance to the one we have now.

Unless godzilla rises from the deep within the next 2 years, there should be better circumstances for NQs then.

Archie

Unbelievable.

I pay the top tax bracket. I demand that my money is put to proper use. I know what is best. I worked really, really hard for my money and deserve to keep more of it. To the extent I must give it up, it had better be spent well. Those responsible for spending it owe me a duty to spend it in a way I see fit, of course. I am more important than those it is being spent on, so I should really be consulted and my views considered. Those who don’t pay as much tax as me are probably lazy and undeserving. They want to take everything I have worked so hard for. Shockers. Bunch of shockers.

Facepalm

Simon Davis is absolutely clueless. He needs to get his head out of the sand.

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