As expected our story about social mobility czar Alan Milburn’s report, which called on the legal industry to remove barriers preventing those from poorer backgrounds joining the profession, sparked off yet another blazing row on social mobility (read article).
Predictably the posts were once again dominated by the same themes such as nepotism, the quality of state school education, the rising cost of the LPC/BVC and calls to abolish the training contract.
Many of the points raised were valid, especially the spiralling cost of legal education. But what’s forgotten in the heat of the debate are some of the initiatives, such as CSET, Legal Launch Pad, Pathways and Target Chances, which an increasing number of firms are taking part in to help students, who would otherwise slip through the net, to secure training contracts. There’s also Lawyer 2B’s very own Year 12 careers day, which was hosted at Kaplan Law School earlier this year.
However, one question still remains unanswered. Are such programmes making a difference or raising false expectations and is it a case of too little too late?
During the course of the last academic year I had the opportunity to meet students from a huge spectrum of universities and couldn’t help but notice that the “them and us” culture unfortunately does still prevail.
In my belief, however, the responsibility should be on all sides to knock down the barriers that divide the classes.