Traditional training model is dead

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  • Training has to change - at all levels. The LETR (whenever it is finally published) will no doubt extol the virtues of 'on the job' and practical learning, and rightly so. The traditional model of intense academic studies leaves students lacking practical knowledge when they apply for roles in law firms in the first place. Surely there is more value in legal recruits having a sound academic understanding and practical training/qualifications under their belts at the outset? What use is academic excellence in law without the abilitiy to put this into practice? There also seems to be an appetite from firms to use potential solicitors and other types of fee earner to carry out basic legal processing, traditionally carried out by paralegals, legal secretaries et al, whilst they familiarise themselves with the firm in anticipation of a training contract. What does this achieve? Aspiring solicitors who are punching below their weight, and a constantly changing support staff (where top performers are cherry picked for the legal exec/solicitor pathway) - would it not be more advantageous for firms to invest in the fee earning abilities of aspiring solicitors, whilst also committing to creating a highly skilled support team of legal support staff who carry out high quality, low-cost processing?

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