Call for solicitor pupillage scheme

A LEADING City solicitor-advocate has called for the setting up of pupillage-style, in-house advocacy training schemes to make it easier for solicitors to win rights of audience.

Richard Slowe, head of SJ Berwin's advocacy practice, is drawing up plans to apply for the rules governing the awarding of higher court advocacy rights for solicitors to be changed.

Slowe, who is vice-chair of the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates, is proposing that the experience solicitors gain undergoing training in suitable law firms should help them qualify for rights of audience.

He argues that a six-month seat in a busy advocacy department at a City firm should be treated in the same way as a pupillage. He has raised the issue with the association, and is hoping for action soon.

“The simplest thing to do would be to amend the current entry regulations negotiated by the Law Society,” he said.

“The high quality advocacy work I'm doing means the solicitors I'm training get far better experience than many pupil barristers will be getting.”

Under current training requirements, solicitors unable to boast stints as barristers must clock up “flying hours” of advocacy in the lower courts.