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Law graduates face a bleak future at the bar

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    (Original post by Clip)
    That's what 95% of candidates think about themselves, so how you are applying that accurately to your friends, I don't know.

    It's already been said here. If you're talking about the bar - sure - no-one could be under any illusions that it's insanely competitive, and the most likely outcome will be failure. For solicitors, it's completely different. It might be tough, but if you meet the minimum requirements, the most likely result will be success.
    I think that is quite a naive way to look at it. Sure, Solicitors job market isn't -as- competitive as the Bar, but it's still very competitive.
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    (Original post by Clip)
    That's what 95% of candidates think about themselves, so how you are applying that accurately to your friends, I don't know.

    It's already been said here. If you're talking about the bar - sure - no-one could be under any illusions that it's insanely competitive, and the most likely outcome will be failure. For solicitors, it's completely different. It might be tough, but if you meet the minimum requirements, the most likely result will be success.
    But you won't in this country simply because there are no positions open to you. Even if you were the perfect candidate, you need a position to be open.
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    (Original post by Jimbo1234)
    But you won't in this country simply because there are no positions open to you. Even if you were the perfect candidate, you need a position to be open.
    So all the positions in 'No. of Vacancies' column here don't exist do they? They are just figments of the imagination of The Lawyer?
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    (Original post by roh)
    So all the positions in 'No. of Vacancies' column here don't exist do they? They are just figments of the imagination of The Lawyer?
    That is perfectly true.

    However, a number of key statistics are not available

    • The total number of QLDs awarded a year (in aggregate or by institution)
    • The number of TCs acquired by QLD institution
    • The number of TCs acquired by QLD class
    • The number of TCs acquired by non-law first degree institution
    • The number of TCs acquired by GDL provider (ie excluding GDL students who held TCs before commencing the GDL)
    • The number of TCs acquired by LPC provider (ie excluding LPC students who held TCs before commencing the LPC)
    • The number of TCs acquired by LPC mode
    • The above figures broken down into "young entrants" and others


    The Bar Barometer is starting to publish degree institution backgrounds for pupils. Within 2 or 3 years we will know if the surprising entrants and omissions to this list are a single year's statistical anomally or whether in fact UWE is one of the major feeders to the bar.

    So far, we have nothing like it for the solicitors' profession. No candidate has any reliable information beyond anecdote and educated guesswork as to his or her prospects of a career in the law.

    The LLB at Northampton describes itself thus:-

    As a Qualifying Law Degree, the
    course gives exemption from the academic stage of
    qualification for both branches of the legal profession
    therefore it is ideal for those intending to qualify as a
    solicitor or barrister.
    I do not have the first idea how many Northampton graduates qualify as solicitors and of those who do how many are mature/part-time students and how many are mainstream 18-19 year old entrants.

    There is simply no way of knowing, beyond educated guesswork, as to the prospects of success of graduates from any particular background.

    I suspect the patterns are by no means as straightforward as reading off a law league table. My guess is that the careers departments of some institutions are more realistic than others.

    This absence of reliable information is one of the dirty little secrets at the heart of legal education.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    That is perfectly true.

    However, a number of key statistics are not available

    • The total number of QLDs awarded a year (in aggregate or by institution)
    • The number of TCs acquired by QLD institution
    • The number of TCs acquired by QLD class
    • The number of TCs acquired by non-law first degree institution
    • The number of TCs acquired by GDL provider (ie excluding GDL students who held TCs before commencing the GDL)
    • The number of TCs acquired by LPC provider (ie excluding LPC students who held TCs before commencing the LPC)
    • The number of TCs acquired by LPC mode
    • The above figures broken down into "young entrants" and others


    The Bar Barometer is starting to publish degree institution backgrounds for pupils. Within 2 or 3 years we will know if the surprising entrants and omissions to this list are a single year's statistical anomally or whether in fact UWE is one of the major feeders to the bar.

    So far, we have nothing like it for the solicitors' profession. No candidate has any reliable information beyond anecdote and educated guesswork as to his or her prospects of a career in the law.

    The LLB at Northampton describes itself thus:-



    I do not have the first idea how many Northampton graduates qualify as solicitors and of those who do how many are mature/part-time students and how many are mainstream 18-19 year old entrants.

    There is simply no way of knowing, beyond educated guesswork, as to the prospects of success of graduates from any particular background.

    I suspect the patterns are by no means as straightforward as reading off a law league table. My guess is that the careers departments of some institutions are more realistic than others.

    This absence of reliable information is one of the dirty little secrets at the heart of legal education.
    Those stats would be incredible. Can the Law Soc/SRA get hold of them (or have them already even)?

    I realise, all too well sadly, that getting TC is difficult and pupillage incredibly difficult, just thought el troll's assertion that there are no positions open was too easily disprovable not to! And I doubt his claim that he has friends with a First from Manchester who interview well, have ECs etc. that can't get a TC anywhere...

    Be interesting to see how many people manage QLD>BPTC>Pupillage without any intervening stuff. Very few I suspect, particularly given many candidates who may have the first degree academics to do so aim for the top sets and thus add BCL, Harvard LLM or similar in there.

    Given the impending cost of a degree why won't the SRA just be honest about the sort of background and experience necessary to secure TC?!
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    Don't let aspiringlawstudent see this, he'll be on this thread telling you all that it's your own fault for choosing a degree with such poor employment prospects
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    Tbh, it is very bleak, there is no denying that, and I have been saying that for quite some time now. Securing a training contract is very difficult, securing a pupillage is very difficult. It is all one big mess really that we personally have to get out of with personal endeavour.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    Don't let aspiringlawstudent see this, he'll be on this thread telling you all that it's your own fault for choosing a degree with such poor employment prospects
    Surely he should be giving a ringing endorsement of a law degree, if his username is as Ronseal as it sounds rather than some subtle jedi mind trick?

    He's probably too busy creating deliberately provocative polls anyway...
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    (Original post by Jimbo1234)
    Source



    Ouch
    Did anyone know this before applying to do Law?
    Do you think it will affect you?
    I have a few friends who had essentially been lied to by their former teachers and now 4 years down the line are finding out about this hard truth. Do you think students should be made aware of this problem and is there a solution?
    A large proportion of those are going to be people from **** unis, or people who don't have the contacts and have never done any work experience etc.
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    (Original post by roh)
    Given the impending cost of a degree why won't the SRA just be honest about the sort of background and experience necessary to secure TC?!
    Partly because the SRA, like many similar bodies, spends much of its time ****ting itself about the lack of ethnic/social/ diversity in the legal profession. As going to a good university correlates quite strongly with being white and middle class, saying "you have to go a top x uni" does not help them on this issue.
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    (Original post by michael321)
    Partly because the SRA, like many similar bodies, spends much of its time ****ting itself about the lack of ethnic/social/ diversity in the legal profession. As going to a good university correlates quite strongly with being white and middle class, saying "you have to go a top x uni" does not help them on this issue.
    No, but if the BSB's doing it I don't know why the SRA should be scared.

    And I think it's more social, if you go into most medical schools stats for example I suspect the number of white students will be roughly equal to the proportion in society at large whilst the number of students from South Asian backgrounds would be considerably above the proportion in wider society.
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    (Original post by roh)
    No, but if the BSB's doing it I don't know why the SRA should be scared.

    And I think it's more social, if you go into most medical schools stats for example I suspect the number of white students will be roughly equal to the proportion in society at large whilst the number of students from South Asian backgrounds would be considerably above the proportion in wider society.
    Yes but the social mix is hardly likely to induce them to be honest about what university and background tends to make for success as a solicitor.

    I agree, it's probably pretty much all social in the end (though there is of course a correlation with race here).
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    (Original post by roh)
    Those stats would be incredible. Can the Law Soc/SRA get hold of them (or have them already even)?
    At the moment the Law Soc is taking the number of law graduates from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, but their statistics don't address whether a degree is a QLD, merely whether it is within their "law" classification. The Law Soc admit they don't know how many QLD graduates are out there; particularly joint honours graduates, OU graduates, the Irish universities, London International graduates, City University of Hong Kong graduates, CoL/BPP/Holborn graduates and all those who do UK law degrees at partner colleges overseas and in the UK.

    However, QLD status is an accreditation. You don't just set up a law degree at the University of Cleethorpes and get QLD status with the rations. You have to apply and be assessed. There is nothing to prevent accreditation being dependent on reporting statistics to the SRA/Law Soc and the BSB.

    Likewise the powers to offer GDLs is an accreditation. There is no reason why providers cannot be made to collect and submit statistical returns on enrolment.

    The SRA records student i.e. LPC, enrolment, and registers training contracts. Therefore most of the other information ought to be available to them.
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    (Original post by michael321)
    Yes but the social mix is hardly likely to induce them to be honest about what university and background tends to make for success as a solicitor.

    I agree, it's probably pretty much all social in the end (though there is of course a correlation with race here).
    According to the last statistics 11.9% of all solicitors were from ethnic minorities. 22.1% of new admissions were from ethnic minorities.

    Apart from an issue with the numbers from the Caribbean which is related to very poor performance in the British school system, the legal profession is far better placed than most professions.

    When did you last see a black quantity surveyor? And perhaps it is the water that means that Asians can drive taxis in every city on the planet except London?
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    (Original post by roh)
    So all the positions in 'No. of Vacancies' column here don't exist do they? They are just figments of the imagination of The Lawyer?
    Look at the expiration dates on the applications. The website is very slow to update thus has made it look like there are far more openings then there really is.

    Also, consider how many people graduate in Law each year. All of those positions combined is not enough which begs the question; why are so many people doing law?
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    (Original post by Jimbo1234)
    Look at the expiration dates on the applications. The website is very slow to update thus has made it look like there are far more openings then there really is.

    Also, consider how many people graduate in Law each year. All of those positions combined is not enough which begs the question; why are so many people doing law?
    If you go round the websites of each of those firms you will find they have similar numbers of TCs open for 2014. And if the website's slow to update then there may well be more, as the legal jobs market isn't as bad as it has been.

    There's no doubt there is an oversupply of law graduates for legal jobs, but law is not Medicine or Dentistry, you do not do a law degree with the sole intention of becoming a lawyer it is an academic discipline in its own right.
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    65 applicants for every training contract is an overestimate.

    There are about 9000 training contracts up for grabs every year in England and Wales. You do the maths.
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    (Original post by roh)
    you do not do a law degree with the sole intention of becoming a lawyer it is an academic discipline in its own right.
    Well said, but I do think that there is a fundamental oversupply of law graduates in the UK. It is far harder to get into law school in Canada and Australia. Here you have people with a few Cs getting into law at some of the lower ranking universities; this is not judging the students themselves, but it should be made clear to them that a training contract is only a possibility, and shouldn't be an expected outcome.

    Law is a pretty hardcore subject; it's not enough to be clever or glib, you really need to work hard at it, have a good brain, a versatile intellect, and a lot of patience. It is an elite profession, and people should be under no illusions.
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    (Original post by roh)
    If you go round the websites of each of those firms you will find they have similar numbers of TCs open for 2014. And if the website's slow to update then there may well be more, as the legal jobs market isn't as bad as it has been.

    There's no doubt there is an oversupply of law graduates for legal jobs, but law is not Medicine or Dentistry, you do not do a law degree with the sole intention of becoming a lawyer it is an academic discipline in its own right.
    I can't imagine anything more soul crushing than doing law as just a degree. Why not do something fun? (I'm perfectly aware people do this, I just think they must have something wrong with them)
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    (Original post by TieMeUp)
    65 applicants for every training contract is an overestimate.

    There are about 9000 training contracts up for grabs every year in England and Wales. You do the maths.

    This is not correct.


    The number of traineeships in the years 1st August-31st July are as follows:



    2010-11 5441
    2009-10 4874
    2008-9 5809
    2007-8 6303
    2006-7 6012
    2005-6 5751
    2004-5 5732
    2003-4 5708
    2002-3 5650
    2001-2 5385
    2000-1 5162
    1999-0 5285
    1998-9 4827
    1997-8 4826
    1996-7 4739
    1995-6 4063
    1994-5 4170


    The average over the preceding decade is thus 5667 with a range 4874-6303

    Where you may be confused is the number of admissions to the roll which has been running at a significantly higher rate. That is due to the very high numbers qualifying as solicitors by transfer. Many of these are overseas qualified lawyers but there was a loophole (now closed) by which barristers without pupillage could switch to the solicitors' profession without a TC.

    For most vacancies, certainly in smaller firms, 65 applicants would be a woeful under-estimate of the number of applicants per place. It has been recently published that a Manchester firm with two TC vacancies has had over 1000 applications. It is only the larger recruiters that bring the average down because virtually the entire credible pool apply for say 100 vacancies with a MC firm.

    The total number of LPC passes per year is not wildly out of line with the number of TCs but the gap is sufficient to demonstrate an oversupply. Please bear in mind that many TC hunters choose not to undertake the LPC without a TC in the bag.

    I don't have figures after 2009 but for previous years:

    2008-9 5824
    2007-8 7606
    2006-7 5921
    2005-6 6376
    2004-5 6558

    Over those five years the oversupply was 2678 (about 9%) which I think most people would find acceptable.

    However, there is a problem with the data. The Law Society statistics for 2009 (the same is true for other years) have 9337 students enrolled on the LPC. Of those 5824 pass, 1935 fail (the vast majority of whom are referred and can re-sit their failed assessments), 152 officially drop out temporarily or permanently, but 1423 are simply "no result". (NB the figures don't add up correctly)

    There are two issues.

    What happens to all these "referred" candidates who resit? Most of them will eventually pass. Are they listed as enrolled students and passes in the following year's stats or do they simply disappear from the figures? I suspect that it is the latter, in which case the true number passing the LPC is likely to be 1000-1500 higher than the published statistics. If it was the former then the number of LPC students is being wildly overstated, which I don't think to be true.

    The other issue concerns the 1423 "no result" candidates. Are they first year part-timers or are they informal drop outs?

    If they are first year part-timers, then where do they appear in the stats the following year? If they are included in the enrolled students and passes, then the true number of LPC students is being inflated by that amount because every part-timer is being counted twice. If they appear as "no result" in their first year and then disappear in their second year, then again the true number of LPC passes is likely to be a 1000 or so higher than the published figure. One would only record part-timers accurately if first years were included in the enrollment figures and second years in the results figures.

    If they are informal drop-outs, then how much of this is due to failure to secure a TC and moving on to another career rather than failure to cope with the course?

    If, as I suspect, there are really at least another 1000 LPC graduates a year out there. then the oversupply is much more significant. Then you are looking at least a 25.9% oversupply.

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