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The College of Law’s (CoL) Legal Services Policy Institute (LSPI) is calling for the training contract for solicitors to be abolished in a bid to “widen access to the profession”.
The LSPI, a think tank that was established by the CoL in 2007, has published a paper that proposes moving the point of qualification for solicitors to successful completion of the LPC.
The paper suggests that the Legal Services Board (LSB) should set minimum standards for accrediting learning programmes, which in turn would lead to students gaining professional titles.
CoL chief executive Nigel Savage said scrapping the two-year training contract would also help to widen access to the profession by removing a “significant bottleneck in the qualification process”.
He added: “Some students secure jobs in the legal services sector as paralegals and those studying the BVC are called barristers, so why shouldn’t we be able to call those finishing the LPC solicitors?”
Savage admitted that, if the LSPI’s proposals were pushed through, the LPC would have to be modified, but he said that no firm decisions had yet been taken on content, course length or cost.
“If the training contract were to be abolished and more rigorous accreditation of legal training providers were to be introduced, then it’s obvious that standards would be raised across the board and law firms would know they were getting top-quality solicitors,” posited Savage.
That said, Savage admitted that gaining the professional title would not guarantee employment.