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The Law Society plans to bring in an external test for trainees that they must pass before admittance to the roll as part of its training framework review.
Speaking at a BPP Law School graduate recruitment conference, Law Society education and training officer Melissa Askew revealed there were concerns that the signing-off of trainees at the end of the training contract sometimes happened regardless of whether partners or the trainees themselves felt they were ready for practice.
Theres always been a feeling that the training contract ends with a whimper and not with a bang, she said.
To address these problems, Askew said the society wanted to bring in a pre-admission test one that theoretically could be failed. She said that the test would also have some externality for greater robustness.
Askew said the society was researching the feasibility of the test. Other research being undertaken for the review includes work on ethics and the cost implications of new routes to qualification.
The society wants to implement the new training framework in 2006. Some observers have expressed concerns that it could lead to a less rigorous system, but Askew was keen to stress that this would not happen. She said there was no suggestion that work-based learning would cease and the amount of work expected from a student would reduce.
We do believe that the majority of entrants will follow a typical staged route, but there will be different routes of qualification, she said.
She did, however, concede that firms may see the traditional pathway as the gold standard, but said the society hoped firms would embrace all the qualification routes.