The Law Society has completed the first stage of its controversial review of legal education and training and has set out the timetable for overhauling the LPC.
The 10-page document, published by the Law Society’s Regulation Board last week, fleshes out the proposals unveiled by the Law Society last October, when it reneged on its original plan to make the LPC non-compulsory.
The Training Framework Review (TFR) is still considering proposals as to whether trainees should qualify automatically as solicitors as soon as they complete their two-year training contracts.
Under the new structure, which will come into force in 2008-09, it will still be compulsory for students to complete the LPC before qualifying as a solicitor, but for the first time students can apply for for exemptions from parts of the course if they already have equivalent qualifications.
However, it still remains unclear as to who the exemptions apply to.
Students will also be able to study the compulsory and elective modules of the LPC independently or at different institutions.
The latest proposals have received a mixed reception from LPC course providers.
BPP Law School chief executive Peter Crisp said: “We broadly welcome the document. It gives providers more opportunity to be innovative and creative.”
However, Scott Slorach, LPC director at the College of Law, was more ambivalent. “It allows for flexibility and creativity in delivering the LPC in different ways, and the fact that it’s put more emphasis on skills is something we’ve needed for a long time,” he said. “But what’s left to work out is how it impacts on everything that students have to do before they qualify. “One can now do one’s electives at other places and at a different time and so on – but what we don’t know is whether one can start a training contract with only the compulsory modules.”
The Law Society will start authorising the new-style course during 2007 and has asked course providers to provide feedback on the latest proposals before they are finalised.
The TFR was launched four years ago with the aim of bringing flexibility to qualifying as a solicitor and to improve access to the legal profession.