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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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