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Unified training for solicitors and barristers is closer than ever as the UK's largest bar school, the Inns of Court School of Law (ICSL), prepares itself to offer the Legal Practice Course.
ICSL principal professor Richard Stone says the move is a response to the Lord Chancellor's vision of the future, which will see all lawyers - barristers and solicitors - able to provide advocacy services, or conduct litigation.
"If that is the future, then pressure for a single course will become greater," he says.
He predicts a minimum of five years until unified training becomes a realistic possibility.
Stone identifies a fundamental problem with existing LPC courses. "Firms feel some students are not particularly well versed in basics like contract law," he says.
The organisers of the ICSL course will hope to rectify this problem, as well as devoting more time to training legal research and written skills.
Stone believes the course will not place a greater emphasis on advocacy training because firms prefer to do that as an in-house, post-qualification.
ICSL is the last of the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) providers to offer the LPC. The first course will commence in September 2000.