Abolish training contracts/ pupillages? Watch

sma0712
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So I've been discussing this with a few friends and it seems like a pretty contentious issue.

Should training contracts for solicitors and Pupillages for barristers be abolished and instead allow someone to go straight from LPC/ BPTC into practise?


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Key123
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(Original post by sma0712)
So I've been discussing this with a few friends and it seems like a pretty contentious issue.

Should training contracts for solicitors and Pupillages for barristers be abolished and instead allow someone to go straight from LPC/ BPTC into practise?


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No way. If anything, ditch the LPC/BPTC and extend each on the job training route by a year to include the content of them.


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Norton1
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(Original post by sma0712)
So I've been discussing this with a few friends and it seems like a pretty contentious issue.

Should training contracts for solicitors and Pupillages for barristers be abolished and instead allow someone to go straight from LPC/ BPTC into practise?


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Depends on whether you want people who are technically qualified lawyers to be really **** at the job.
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Le Nombre
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(Original post by Key123)
No way. If anything, ditch the LPC/BPTC and extend each on the job training route by a year to include the content of them.


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^This.

The only lawyers benefiting from a policy like this would be prof negligence ones.
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ratio
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(Original post by sma0712)
So I've been discussing this with a few friends and it seems like a pretty contentious issue.

Should training contracts for solicitors and Pupillages for barristers be abolished and instead allow someone to go straight from LPC/ BPTC into practise?


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Law firms would just be paying higher salaries for poorer returns, but the quality of work given to first years would probably be roughly similar. Partners (because of a hit to their profits) and clients (because of higher billing rates) would not be pleased.

The bar would be even more restrictive. New "tenants" won't receive a pupillage award and would have to fend for themselves from day 1. Only a tiny minority of people would be comfortable with that kind of financial risk. This would reinforce stereotypes about the bar and discourage some good advocates. Very undesirable.


(Original post by Le Nombre)
^This.

The only lawyers benefiting from a policy like this would be prof negligence ones.
Works for US lawyers.
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Lady Comstock
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No, make the LLB a four year LLM like the MEng which provides access to either pupillage or a training contract and then make both of those placements one year maximum.
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nulli tertius
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My predecessors used to take an intelligent school leaver and turn him into a competent lawyer in 5 years. At that time Part IIs/Solicitors Finals were undertaken at the end of articles. Pass rates were around 50-60% and most candidates would have had preparation in the form of correspondence courses, night school classes or block release/leave of absence. The examination was an examination of black letter law and practice coupled with accounts.

The Solicitors Finals of my day remained a black letter law exam but taken after a law degree or CPE and before articles. It had a heavy legal content but some of it was wasted because one had to rote learn things such as the order of a conveyancing transaction which would be blatantly obvious from 5 minutes in a conveyancing department.

The modern LPC graduate comes with staggeringly little legal knowledge. They have learned various "skills" that they could have learned in a week of interviewing matrimonial injunction clients, attending district judges on mortgage possession claims and manning the phones dealing with casual enquirers. There is no discernible difference in the legal knowledge or skills of an LPC graduate trainee solicitor or an LLB qualified paralegal and we do use them interchangeably at times.

What we have at present isn't worth preserving.

My view is that the CILEX model is the way to go. Take LLB/GDL graduates and have them study and do their exams whilst they are training and have those exams concentrate on legal knowledge with skills assumed. It would mean that City firms wouldn't be able to run their long hours model as they do at present, but it would also mean that there was no-one studying without the prospect of ever qualifying.
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GR3YFOXXX
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
My predecessors used to take an intelligent school leaver and turn him into a competent lawyer in 5 years. At that time Part IIs/Solicitors Finals were undertaken at the end of articles. Pass rates were around 50-60% and most candidates would have had preparation in the form of correspondence courses, night school classes or block release/leave of absence. The examination was an examination of black letter law and practice coupled with accounts.

The Solicitors Finals of my day remained a black letter law exam but taken after a law degree or CPE and before articles. It had a heavy legal content but some of it was wasted because one had to rote learn things such as the order of a conveyancing transaction which would be blatantly obvious from 5 minutes in a conveyancing department.

The modern LPC graduate comes with staggeringly little legal knowledge. They have learned various "skills" that they could have learned in a week of interviewing matrimonial injunction clients, attending district judges on mortgage possession claims and manning the phones dealing with casual enquirers. There is no discernible difference in the legal knowledge or skills of an LPC graduate trainee solicitor or an LLB qualified paralegal and we do use them interchangeably at times.

What we have at present isn't worth preserving.

My view is that the CILEX model is the way to go. Take LLB/GDL graduates and have them study and do their exams whilst they are training and have those exams concentrate on legal knowledge with skills assumed. It would mean that City firms wouldn't be able to run their long hours model as they do at present, but it would also mean that there was no-one studying without the prospect of ever qualifying.
This is pretty much how ACA accountants qualify, I genuinely believe it is a much more rigorous training regime. The Big 4 firms pretty much have this routine down to a "T". I think it would be a good model to transpose onto the legal community as currently the biggest barrier to social mobility within the profession is the financial risk of a self-funded GDL/LPC.
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Crazy Jamie
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Speaking from the Bar perspective, abolishing pupillages would be a very bad idea. The BPTC simply does not adequately prepare students for practice. It is a more practical course than the LLB, but is not close to fit for purpose as a method of fully preparing students to be practising barristers. There is certainly room for reform, but such reform would almost certainly have to be centred around the BPTC rather than pupillage, or at the very least would result in some sort of integration of the two.
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Laissez_Faire
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In my opinion we should abolish the LPC, BPTC courses and only law students should be able practice. One to two years of training to a law firm and then anyone should qualify as an advocate and not the ridiculous distinction between solicitors and barristers. That is how most of the western world runs the legal profession and that is how UK and some other common law countries should do it.


This would be of huge benefit for the quality of law schools in the UK, which in turn would benefit it graduates, the legal profession and legal firms in the country. It makes no sense for such a liberal country like UK to put so many restrictions in the legal profession and to undermine indirectly the quality of its law schools.


GDL, should be abolished at once for the reasons mentioned above. Law schools should simply become more competitive and with a stronger practical curriculum. Only the best should enter law schools and law firms should not make their decisions on the basis of University (since everyone can qualify as lawyer leading more Oxbridge students to elit firms) but on the basis of law school reputation and only that. It is unfair to undertake such a hard subject and them a history student for instance to compete on equal terms with a law student.


Law schools who already run the GDL, BPTC and GDL courses, should take benefit from the fact that they have a more practical orientation and integrate this in their curriculum to attract students in order to join them. All the rest of the law schools should still compete on the basis of research, teaching quality and should also add some more practical and less academic modules. Finally, in case such scenario takes place law degrees should be 4 years instead of 3, with the option of the one year abroad as it is now.
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Key123
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(Original post by Laissez_Faire)
In my opinion we should abolish the LPC, BPTC courses and only law students should be able practice. One to two years of training to a law firm and then anyone should qualify as an advocate and not the ridiculous distinction between solicitors and barristers. That is how most of the western world runs the legal profession and that is how UK and some other common law countries should do it.


This would be of huge benefit for the quality of law schools in the UK, which in turn would benefit it graduates, the legal profession and legal firms in the country. It makes no sense for such a liberal country like UK to put so many restrictions in the legal profession and to undermine indirectly the quality of its law schools.


GDL, should be abolished at once for the reasons mentioned above. Law schools should simply become more competitive and with a stronger practical curriculum. Only the best should enter law schools and law firms should not make their decisions on the basis of University (since everyone can qualify as lawyer leading more Oxbridge students to elit firms) but on the basis of law school reputation and only that. It is unfair to undertake such a hard subject and them a history student for instance to compete on equal terms with a law student.


Law schools who already run the GDL, BPTC and GDL courses, should take benefit from the fact that they have a more practical orientation and integrate this in their curriculum to attract students in order to join them. All the rest of the law schools should still compete on the basis of research, teaching quality and should also add some more practical and less academic modules. Finally, in case such scenario takes place law degrees should be 4 years instead of 3, with the option of the one year abroad as it is now.
I disagree quite strongly with this.


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Crazy Jamie
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(Original post by Laissez_Faire)
In my opinion we should abolish the LPC, BPTC courses and only law students should be able practice. One to two years of training to a law firm and then anyone should qualify as an advocate and not the ridiculous distinction between solicitors and barristers. That is how most of the western world runs the legal profession and that is how UK and some other common law countries should do it.
Out of interest, why do you consider the distinction between barristers and solicitors to be 'ridiculous'? The whole 'everyone else does it differently' argument is all good and well, but in and of itself has no persuasive power. What is it about the current system that you believe would be improved by combining the two professions?

It is unfair to undertake such a hard subject and them a history student for instance to compete on equal terms with a law student.
Again, why is that unfair? Law as an academic subject is very far from removed from law as a practical subject. The GDL provides a basic grounding for those who did not study law to acquire the basics, and then both law students and non law students alike can move on to the practical postgraduate courses. What is inherently wrong with that? Experience with other subjects is often an advantage to graduates when applying for legal roles, and equally that experience can aid them in practice. Why would you seek to deprive the legal industry of that added experience?
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Laissez_Faire)
In my opinion we should abolish the LPC, BPTC courses and only law students should be able practice. One to two years of training to a law firm and then anyone should qualify as an advocate and not the ridiculous distinction between solicitors and barristers. That is how most of the western world runs the legal profession and that is how UK and some other common law countries should do it.


This would be of huge benefit for the quality of law schools in the UK, which in turn would benefit it graduates, the legal profession and legal firms in the country. It makes no sense for such a liberal country like UK to put so many restrictions in the legal profession and to undermine indirectly the quality of its law schools.


GDL, should be abolished at once for the reasons mentioned above. Law schools should simply become more competitive and with a stronger practical curriculum. Only the best should enter law schools and law firms should not make their decisions on the basis of University (since everyone can qualify as lawyer leading more Oxbridge students to elit firms) but on the basis of law school reputation and only that. It is unfair to undertake such a hard subject and them a history student for instance to compete on equal terms with a law student.


Law schools who already run the GDL, BPTC and GDL courses, should take benefit from the fact that they have a more practical orientation and integrate this in their curriculum to attract students in order to join them. All the rest of the law schools should still compete on the basis of research, teaching quality and should also add some more practical and less academic modules. Finally, in case such scenario takes place law degrees should be 4 years instead of 3, with the option of the one year abroad as it is now.
You call yourself Laissez_Faire but you wish to deprive law firms of the freedom to recruit non-law graduates. Rather than letting the market decide the background of entrants to the profession, you wish to dictate that firms can only recruit those who have your background.

Universities already have the freedom to run 4 year exempting law degrees and some do. You would have those as being compulsory.

The model you propose has clear bias to those who know that they want to be lawyers a 17. What about those who discover that they wish to join the legal profession at 21 or 31. Your proposal would effectively close the door on those who had studied something else or who who could not afford to put their lives on hold for 4 years.
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Key123
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
You call yourself Laissez_Faire but you wish to deprive law firms of the freedom to recruit non-law graduates. Rather than letting the market decide the background of entrants to the profession, you wish to dictate that firms can only recruit those who have your background.

Universities already have the freedom to run 4 year exempting law degrees and some do. You would have those as being compulsory.

The model you propose has clear bias to those who know that they want to be lawyers a 17. What about those who discover that they wish to join the legal profession at 21 or 31. Your proposal would effectively close the door on those who had studied something else or who who could not afford to put their lives on hold for 4 years.
If I had been bothered to expand on my post, it would have been a less eloquent and far ruder version of this.


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meryonr
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
You call yourself Laissez_Faire but you wish to deprive law firms of the freedom to recruit non-law graduates. Rather than letting the market decide the background of entrants to the profession, you wish to dictate that firms can only recruit those who have your background.

Universities already have the freedom to run 4 year exempting law degrees and some do. You would have those as being compulsory.

The model you propose has clear bias to those who know that they want to be lawyers a 17. What about those who discover that they wish to join the legal profession at 21 or 31. Your proposal would effectively close the door on those who had studied something else or who who could not afford to put their lives on hold for 4 years.
Thankyou good sir for calling out this rubbish. As a 2nd year biology student planning to convert to law with a GDL, I'd suggest that law is such a diverse field covering so many different areas that it requires practitioners from all walks of life, not just high powered stereotypical lawyer types. Laissez_Faire could perhaps note that biomedical science graduates are actually preferred for a lot of areas of medical law over standard law grads because they have a much greater understanding of the industry and processes they work with.
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Laissez_Faire
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In my opinion we should abolish the LPC, BPTC courses and only law students should be able practice. One to two years of training to a law firm and then anyone should qualify as an advocate and not the ridiculous distinction between solicitors and barristers. That is how most of the western world runs the legal profession and that is how UK and some other common law countries should do it.

This would be of huge benefit for the quality of law schools in the UK, which in turn would benefit it graduates, the legal profession and legal firms in the country. It makes no sense for such a liberal country like UK to put so many restrictions in the legal profession and to undermine indirectly the quality of its law schools.

GDL, should be abolished at once for the reasons mentioned above. Law schools should simply become more competitive and with a stronger practical curriculum. Only the best should enter law schools and law firms should not make their decisions on the basis of University (since everyone can qualify as lawyer leading more Oxbridge students to elit firms) but on the basis of law school reputation and only that. It is unfair to undertake such a hard subject and them a history student for instance to compete on equal terms with a law student.

Law schools who already run the GDL, BPTC and GDL courses, should take benefit from the fact that they have a more practical orientation and integrate this in their curriculum to attract students in order to join them. All the rest of the law schools should still compete on the basis of research, teaching quality and should also add some more practical and less academic modules. Finally, in case such scenario takes place law degrees should be 4 years instead of 3, with the option of the one year abroad as it is now.
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Laissez_Faire
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(Original post by Crazy Jamie)
Out of interest, why do you consider the distinction between barristers and solicitors to be 'ridiculous'? The whole 'everyone else does it differently' argument is all good and well, but in and of itself has no persuasive power. What is it about the current system that you believe would be improved by combining the two professions?

Again, why is that unfair? Law as an academic subject is very far from removed from law as a practical subject. The GDL provides a basic grounding for those who did not study law to acquire the basics, and then both law students and non law students alike can move on to the practical postgraduate courses. What is inherently wrong with that? Experience with other subjects is often an advantage to graduates when applying for legal roles, and equally that experience can aid them in practice. Why would you seek to deprive the legal industry of that added experience?
Crazy Jamie, the distinction between barristers, solicitors is not sensible or reasonable in any way. I give the example of the international practice, cause I am not persuaded that the UK knows any better that the rest of the world. It is also restrictive for a practitioner lawyer and entails an element of prestige to the barrister's profession, as practically and under EU law there should not be this kind of distinction between practitioner lawyers. And let me reverse the question to you: Why do you think the distinction is important and what would it be worse if the two qualifications merged?

As for your second question, you yourself undermine the law degree, saying actually that having another degree is a plus. Maybe I am indeed biased up to a point (I hold both a law degree and a degree in political science) cause I see that a much harder degree (and I have experience on that), in many cases is undermined, and training lawyers are selected on the basis of the Uni they graduated from, rather than the course itself.

And of course the money you need to spend for an LPC or BPTC are just too much and it would be much more preferable to have the procedural and advanced courses of the LPC - BPTC as part of your LLB. I don't understand why should someone do an additional PRACTICAL course and also pay for it? The continent does not do it, neither the U.S. In both cases everything is taught during the LLB (I am aware that in the U.S. is only available as a PG degree and I think they have an important reason to do so) why is UK so special?

In any case, (and this is an answer to a bunch of smart asses who have replied to me like I offended then in person) this is my opinion and does not necessarily derives from a purely logical conclusion about all the issues. I want the legal profession to be truly flexible and open for people who wish to make their dreams come true and not for law firms and for law colleges who earn millions investing in the hopes of young students. I mean you all talk about depriving the law industry from choosing, when students with a BPTC cannot get a pupillage and LPC students cannot get a training contract. This is why I don't agree with the whole free competition in the legal profession and that is why I am afraid that in the future the quality of law schools in the UK will be undermined.
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Kessler`
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(Original post by Laissez_Faire)
Crazy Jamie, the distinction between barristers, solicitors is not sensible or reasonable in any way. I give the example of the international practice, cause I am not persuaded that the UK knows any better that the rest of the world. It is also restrictive for a practitioner lawyer and entails an element of prestige to the barrister's profession, as practically and under EU law there should not be this kind of distinction between practitioner lawyers. And let me reverse the question to you: Why do you think the distinction is important and what would it be worse if the two qualifications merged?

Spoken like someone who has not seen enough of law in practice. If I got that wrong, then by all means PM me with your details and I'll publicly retract. The vast majority of solicitors that I come into contact with are grateful that there is another branch of the profession to deal with advocacy. There is a certain skillset needed for litigation, and another completely different skillset needed for advocacy in the courts - of whatever discipline.

That is before we get into arguments about how solicitors must focus their time on the client care/litigation aspect and the economic pressures/realities of solicitors' firms.

The greatest argument in favour of the Bar must be the objectivity and independence that it provides. It is (although I accept that there is always going to be a bad apple now and again) the ability to present arguments, advise upon specialist areas and all of that divorced from the economics of running a case. I have first-hand seen solicitor advocates (which are akin to what you suggest should replace the two branches) placing tremendous pressure on clients to plead guilty/drop cases/continue with cases against their will, because they are focused on making a profit.

As to your arguments re non-law grads being barred from the profession - this should never happen. You overlook and/or underestimate the contribution of non-law grads to their profession - particularly those who come from another profession. By contrast, a law degree is over-rated for the purpose of every-day practice. You really do not need to understand the theory and history of law to navigate your way round CPR or research and apply precedents. The real attributes of a lawyer - analytical skills, presentation, confidence and stamina - are not exclusive to undergrad law students.

I am glad that there are two branches of the legal profession, and I have equal respect for both. Different skillsets, expertise and focus combine to ensure that the lay client receives an outstanding service. I am also glad that there is the ability to enter the profession from a non-law background. Long may it all continue.
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Le Nombre
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(Original post by Laissez_Faire)
Crazy Jamie, the distinction between barristers, solicitors is not sensible or reasonable in any way. I give the example of the international practice, cause I am not persuaded that the UK knows any better that the rest of the world. It is also restrictive for a practitioner lawyer and entails an element of prestige to the barrister's profession, as practically and under EU law there should not be this kind of distinction between practitioner lawyers. And let me reverse the question to you: Why do you think the distinction is important and what would it be worse if the two qualifications merged?

As for your second question, you yourself undermine the law degree, saying actually that having another degree is a plus. Maybe I am indeed biased up to a point (I hold both a law degree and a degree in political science) cause I see that a much harder degree (and I have experience on that), in many cases is undermined, and training lawyers are selected on the basis of the Uni they graduated from, rather than the course itself.

And of course the money you need to spend for an LPC or BPTC are just too much and it would be much more preferable to have the procedural and advanced courses of the LPC - BPTC as part of your LLB. I don't understand why should someone do an additional PRACTICAL course and also pay for it? The continent does not do it, neither the U.S. In both cases everything is taught during the LLB (I am aware that in the U.S. is only available as a PG degree and I think they have an important reason to do so) why is UK so special?

In any case, (and this is an answer to a bunch of smart asses who have replied to me like I offended then in person) this is my opinion and does not necessarily derives from a purely logical conclusion about all the issues. I want the legal profession to be truly flexible and open for people who wish to make their dreams come true and not for law firms and for law colleges who earn millions investing in the hopes of young students. I mean you all talk about depriving the law industry from choosing, when students with a BPTC cannot get a pupillage and LPC students cannot get a training contract. This is why I don't agree with the whole free competition in the legal profession and that is why I am afraid that in the future the quality of law schools in the UK will be undermined.
You still haven't said why a law degree should give you an exclusive right to enter the profession. It being hard is not really enough, it's not like it is a secret of which law firms are unaware, however they still recruit from outside it, which suggests it doesn't confer any serious advantage in practice. I did a joint degree and yes Law is difficult, but 90% of what you study will cease to be relevant upon qualification anyway so having law grads isn't really a huge benefit

As to why the LPC? This is not something totally unique to the UK, I know France has Ecoles des Avocats which you have to go through, but I think the principle reason is the brevity of the academic stage. In America a JD is four years, on the continent lawyers nearly always have at least a Masters, we simply haven't the time to do stuff like how to conduct litigation at uni. I agree it's a swindle and they shouldn't market it to people with no hope of a TC but if it were compulsory to have a TC already and made tougher it would be useful.

You think people dream of being corporate lawyers (the majority on here)? I doubt that. As to removing free competition from the legal market, are you serious?! The law should not be run for the benefit of lawyers but in the best interests of clients, removing competition is hardly likely to help firms improve and I can only imagine the response of big companies at the news they no longer get a choice in their lawyers! We're already protected we don't need more insulation from market forces.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Laissez_Faire)
Crazy Jamie, the distinction between barristers, solicitors is not sensible or reasonable in any way. I give the example of the international practice, cause I am not persuaded that the UK knows any better that the rest of the world. It is also restrictive for a practitioner lawyer and entails an element of prestige to the barrister's profession, as practically and under EU law there should not be this kind of distinction between practitioner lawyers.
Much of the world divides its legal professions. A number of Commonwealth and former Commonwealth countries follow the UK distinction between solicitors and barristers/advocates. Most of Europe divides its legal profession between avocats and notaires. Some have a third profession, (France has just abolished this) of avoue. In England notary is a minor profession principally concerned with overseas matters. In most continental countries they are an everyday part of the law, concerned with property work, wills and family law. Where they exist, an avoue performs the role of litigation solicitor (historically the true role of the attorney). Moreover, in most European countries and in many other jurisdictions including the United States and India, the legal profession is divided geographically. Most lawyers in the world can only practice before a particular court or in a particular town or district.

And let me reverse the question to you: Why do you think the distinction is important and what would it be worse if the two qualifications merged?
It keeps costs down, because barristers carry much lower overheads. Barristers have much lower levels of support staff because they are not engaged in almost constant communication with clients and other professionals. Barristers have much lower demands for office space because they do not have the same need to provide interview and meeting facilities. Barristers have much lower professional indemnity insurance and fidelity protection. That is because they are only marginally involved in transactional property and corporate work where most claims arise and they cannot steal client money as they don't hold it. The three biggest costs for a solicitors firm are staff, premises and insurance.

It also prevents the centralisation of the legal profession. Most towns can support solicitors. Few towns could support an integrated legal profession. If a law firm cannot provide the whole service that a client wants the client will look elsewhere to firms that can, which will be in the major centres. Despite the enormous glut of lawyers in the USA there are shortages of rural attorneys in many parts of the US.

As for your second question, you yourself undermine the law degree, saying actually that having another degree is a plus. Maybe I am indeed biased up to a point (I hold both a law degree and a degree in political science) cause I see that a much harder degree (and I have experience on that), in many cases is undermined, and training lawyers are selected on the basis of the Uni they graduated from, rather than the course itself.

And of course the money you need to spend for an LPC or BPTC are just too much and it would be much more preferable to have the procedural and advanced courses of the LPC - BPTC as part of your LLB. I don't understand why should someone do an additional PRACTICAL course and also pay for it? The continent does not do it, neither the U.S. In both cases everything is taught during the LLB (I am aware that in the U.S. is only available as a PG degree and I think they have an important reason to do so) why is UK so special?
You are confusing two things. Firstly whether or not something is called a law degree or a diploma or a course hardly matters. Effectively in this country, you require a minimum of four years of full time college-based study and two years of on the job training to qualify as a solicitor and four years of college based training and one year of on the job training to qualify as a barrister compared with say France which requires five years of college based study to become an avocat or the USA which requires 7 years of college based study. In other words they are very similar.

However your real gripe seems to be that the Student Finance system doesn't fund the GDL and LPC. In fact, to only have to fund one or two years of sacademic study is low by international standards.

In any case, (and this is an answer to a bunch of smart asses who have replied to me like I offended then in person) this is my opinion and does not necessarily derives from a purely logical conclusion about all the issues. I want the legal profession to be truly flexible and open for people who wish to make their dreams come true and not for law firms and for law colleges who earn millions investing in the hopes of young students. I mean you all talk about depriving the law industry from choosing, when students with a BPTC cannot get a pupillage and LPC students cannot get a training contract. This is why I don't agree with the whole free competition in the legal profession and that is why I am afraid that in the future the quality of law schools in the UK will be undermined.

I do agree with you regarding the law school racket. However I cannot see why forcing people to choose the law at 17 helps.
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