Law Society starts campaign to scare off wannabe lawyers

  • Print
  • Comments (65)

Readers' comments (65)

  • Do away with the LPC and Training Contract barriers to the profession. Bring in the US system of qualification and let the competition begin.

    Simples...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Husnara,

    I agree with you (almost entirely!).

    However, in response to the assertion that this campaign will discourage social mobility I'd just like to add that another strand of the campaign is to promote awareness of the part-time LPC, of bursaries and scholarships and of the ILEX route (www.ilex.org.uk), which are just as valid entry routes into the profession with considerably less cost.

    More information can also be found by contacting the Junior Lawyers Division helpline: 08000 856 131.

    Thanks.

    Beth Wanono

    Member of the Law Society Council

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Unfortunate but necessary. The legal market is saturated at the moment.

    Is it the fault of the LPC providers? Maybe. They are run like a business. The lure of the golden pot at the end of the rainbow if you fork out £10K is very appealing for those who haven't secure a TC before the LPC.

    But at the end of the day it's the suffering economy which has dictated things. Less deals and transactions, so less lawyers needed so less trainees needed. One minute lawyers were in hot demand and the next, there was an excess of them. That shift was very sudden.

    I hope things start to return to normal by the end of this year.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What I would have appreciated before starting on the path to becoming a lawyer, not that it hindered me, is the fact city firms recruit almost entirely from the same select University’s – call this naïve, but I thought it was the individual merits of an individuals application that should matter.

    However, any one who thought they could swan into a job in the law with a 2:1 must have spent their University career in a cave.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It important to be aware of what the legal profession is becoming and what it will be like in the years to come. Fewer qualified lawyers will be required. Look at the Halifax Legal Services existing web site to see what is going on now. Only only a small number of candidates will have careers in city firms which may deliver the Ally Mcbeal life style that may have inspired some of you to study law.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Beth,
    I studied the ILEX route, followed by both the GDL and LPC part-time. Whilst they are superb alternative routes to qualifying as a lawyer (be that a Legal Exec. or solicitor if you choose to continue studying), almost no one in the city knows what ILEX is! I have had numerous interviews where I get congratulated on the effort involved with studying the GDL/LPC part-time, but have had to explain as many times, what ILEX is and how the route works. Not only do these alternative routes to qualification need to be more widely publicised to prospective students, but awareness of these by law firms must also be tackled. I now have 8 years of private practice experience under my belt, but I still have to explain why I didn't go to university and how I managed to qualify.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The Law Society has known for years that there are more students than trainee positions but yet have waited until now to tell students to take caution!! Well what about people in my position who for several years have been trying to secure a training contract but to no avail and owe thousands due to expensive legal education, in my case £25,000 (excluding interest) - What do we do?
    To the contributor who said people should consider becoming legal executives, well until legal executives are regarded by the profession as equal to barristers and solicitors or there is a way for legal executives to become solicitors without having to do a training contract (contrary to what is said on the ILEX website) then I will consider becoming a legal executive. I am highly disappointed by the Law Society's advice who should be finding solutions for law graduates and doing all that it can to address the findings of the Milburn report.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "the same select University’s"
    "an individuals application"
    I'm afraid it's indicative of the standard of less "select universities" that you can apparently obtain a law degree without even being able to punctuate properly.
    The absurdity of "degrees for all" means that the status of a degree in any subject is now hugely devalued.
    This makes it far harder to sort the wheat from the chaff, and a crude selection mechanism is needed to weed out a large proportion of applicants at the outset.
    The simplest way of doing so is to decide that you will only consider applicants who have been to one of the "select" universities. Yes, you may miss the occasional genius, but you will save an awful lot of time interviewing no hopers.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Whilst I accept mistakes for poor punctuation (I thought we were in the mobile age where anything goes?) and your argument that degrees for all have made it more difficult to separate the “wheat from the chaff”, I insist that my point remains perfectly valid.

    Recruiting from a particular University might be useful as a HR time saving tool and as an important means of forging links. The reason for an individual picking a University can be for a variety of sensible and practical reasons. It makes a mockery of the application process which is intended to be fair and open to all - do you not agree?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • To Anon @ 10.42am.

    I am afraid that it is you sir/madam who appears to have been living in a cave. I knew aged 17 that pursuing a career as a solicitor with a decent firm is essentially a long uphill struggle without a degree from a prestigious/well respected University.

    I am currently passing the time with a paralegal role before commencing my TC. I work alongside a graveyard of individuals who have yet to secure one, who I have the ultimate sympathy for I might add as it's a bitch of a process. However, the gulf in class between those who attended "select Universities" to study their degrees and those who went to Keele or Nottingham Trent is blatantly obvious.

    I recall an anecdote from University where an essay was marked and awarded a third by a tutor at my University. As an experiment, it was later submitted via a friend in the city's former polytechnic where it achieved a 2.1. Another tale involves friends in lesser Universities answering multiple choice questions in an LLB exam. Comparing that to an essay question on Hedley Byrne v Heller pure economic loss is simply ridiculous.

    If people with mediocre academic backgrounds are annoyed, then they should blame the government for feeding them an unsustainable dream.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Dear City Gent,

    Before criticising the grammatical knowledge of others, you may want to examine your use of commas. You too are unable to punctuate properly, as you do not appear to understand the relationship between commas and conjunctions.

    People on these message board often write in a hurry and do not bother spell-checking. I'm sure we all misspell words and punctuate poorly when in writing informally.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Ah, but here's the problem City Gent: There are quite a few lawyers from "select universities" who can neither draft nor punctuate.

    Also, are you telling us that you will be able to tell from an interview whether someone can punctuate or not?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • To “Anonymous | 3-Aug-2009 4:27 pm”,
    I couldn’t agree more; more publicity to increase the perception of credibility is needed. Hopefully this will do something to help raise awareness. We shall see.
    To “Anonymous | 3-Aug-2009 4:35 pm”
    I’m sorry to have to correct you, but allow me to quote from the ILEX website:
    “Legal Executive lawyers have the option to become solicitors in one or two years after becoming Fellows and usually are exempt from the training contract graduates must complete to qualify as solicitors”.
    I also have severe debts and I completely sympathise. I apologise if you are hugely disappointed with the Law Society’s advice but I believe it is provoking a useful debate and will help people (even if only to a small extent) to avoid ending up in such a precarious, heavily indebted position in future.
    I think it is a good thing this is being openly discussed.
    If you would like any advice on obtaining a training contract please do contact the helpline I listed above.
    Thank you
    Beth

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Metallica's hit the nail on the head. The fact is that LPC providers will take anyone provided they cough up the spondulicks. We can see from the problems the Bar Council has had in trying to set up a competence test that competition is regarded as a 'dirty word' but the basic ,hard fact of the matter is that it exists.
    This year I've seen several graduates with 2:2's 'over the moon' to be 'accepted' to do the LPC. It's in their genes since school to see getting a place as getting a result and no one's able to tell them the ghastly truth which is that with a Desmond and a lacklustre CV they are about as likely to secure a TC as fly to the moon, plus their £10K plus does not secure a transferable qualification.
    The whole legal training business (for that is what it is) needs a radical shake-up.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Beth,
    You said and I quote, "I’m sorry to have to correct you, but allow me to quote from the ILEX website:
    “Legal Executive lawyers have the option to become solicitors in one or two years after becoming Fellows and usually are exempt from the training contract graduates must complete to qualify as solicitors”.
    In reality the SRA (not ILEX) requires Fellows to complete a training contract before qualifing as a solicitor. I personally only know of one case where a legal executive was exempt from completing a training contract. You may want to read the article which was published by lawyer2b on 15 June 2009 called 'legal executives: an easier route into a career in law?' which debated this issue. I have already spent a lot of money studying the GDL and LPC I also attended a traditional redbrick university although not Oxbridge and I have been involved in some exciting high profile(sometimes international) legal work which even my trainee solicitors friends have not had the opportunity to experience so why then should I rate myself as second best by becoming a legal executive.
    The Law Society needs to pull its finger out and find a solution. Many talented graduates are now going abroad to pursue their legal careers in other jurisdictions and I'm considering doing the same. It is disappointing that in the 21st century we still have a legal profession where a majority of training partners think that it is perfectly suitable to recruit trainees who have attended an Oxbridge university having studied for a BA in history for only 6 hours a week for 3 years!! My cousin is doctor she went to a ex -poly but has been welcomed by her profession for her talents and not because of her socio-economic background. The medical profession has also seen a 55% increase in graduates over the last 5 years and manages to accommodate them!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Response:
    “I am afraid that it is you sir/madam who appears to have been living in a cave. I knew aged 17 that pursuing a career as a solicitor with a decent firm is essentially a long uphill struggle without a degree from a prestigious/well respected University”
    Well, the Law Society is going to great lengths to impress upon individuals the immense cost involved and the shrinking number of TC’s available. I believe they would be better off stating in your plain words: people with mediocre backgrounds are perhaps perusing an unsustainable dream.
    I think you will find many students are sold on the idea that achieving a 2:1 in law, anywhere, will provide you with a strong chance of securing a TC.
    I sadly believe you were more enlightened than ‘most’ at that age, not all, but most.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Medicine and Law are professions which are entirely different. Law is not a mostly-homogenous state-run industry which can 'accommodate' graduates. It is a private, commercial industry with no unified (or mostly-unified) approach.
    Thank you for your comments though and I will look into your SRA point; However, I am aware of ILEX graduates who have qualified as solicitors without a training contract and I don't want to descend into trading anecdotes.
    I'd also like to disagree with you on your 'second best' point; at least the ILEX graduate would be earning and on the way to qualification. I also don't believe ILEX qualification would mean an inability to work on international cases; or in any way label you as some kind of 'failure'.
    I don't mean to rile you, though. If you are still searching for a training contract, please do consider using the JLD helpline; staff there may be able to point you in the right direction. There is no shame in using it.
    Good luck.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Beth,
    If you are the person who is sitting behind the JLD helpline, the same helpline I have called in the past months and have either been put on hold or notbeen able to speak to someone then no wonder so many young and mature graduates are in the situation they are in. Lets face whether we like it or not legal executives are not seen in the same light as barristers and solicitors. My comment in regard to the medical profession was not intended to compare it with our profession but to make the point that the legal profession is not the only profession with more graduates than jobs available and both the BMA and BMC (where I used to work as paralegal) have managed to find solutions to this problem without having to discourage wannabe doctors or by reducing standards.
    In regard to JPD's comment well good for you for knowing at the age of 17 that securing a traineeship with a decent firm is an uphill struggle and I have been struggling for three years since finishing my LPC. I too was aware of this but it is pretty disheartening when you attend law school with people who have no idea about law but are offered a choice of four training contracts from top commercial firms not because they have demonstrated their skills through vacation placements or are particularly passionate about law but because they are related to former Prime Ministers or Viscounts.
    To the President of the Law Society there is no point calling for diversity if you are not prepared to enforce it!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anon at 11.25am, I agree with everything that you said.
    Devil's Advocate, I believe that Metallica scored a 2.2 and managed to get a TC in the city... Although, he/she does seem comment on this site a lot, so I'm not sure about his level of productivity.
    I have a 2.1 in economics from a decent university and just completed the GDL at one of the 2 major providers in London. Many of my peers were Oxbridge graduates with 2.1's in classics, history, or philosophy. I can tell you that many of these 'geniuses' did not manage to pass the course first time around.
    I have been unable to secure a TC where many of my (Oxbridge) peers have been able to choose between 5-6 offers from top city firms. This is disappointing because, to be honest, I wasn't overly impressed with the calibre of my competition.
    I won't be wasting my money on the LPC and have chosen to head off to an overseas jurisdiction to qualify and subsequently practise.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The LPC providers need to be a bit more honest with students.
    I did the LPC at BPP and we had students from former polytechs or students with 2.2s from the redbricks who were still being encouraged to apply to the City firms. Some of them were genuinely surprised when they were refused training contracts.
    I understand the LPC providers need to get as many students as possible to get the fees in, but surely this is a huge waste of resources.
    People need to be realistic about what they can achieve.
    The fact that you can get a law degree at all from a polytech is a complete joke. These are the students that slow down the learning on the LPC. Whenever our class needed to slow down so the teacher could explain something, you can guarantee it was a polytech student.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I have a TC in the City. I consider myself bright, but I am totally aware that there were a number of other bright, motivated candidates that could have got the TC I ended up with.
    I have, however, met a number of individuals who are clearly disillusioned. And for this, they have only themselves to blame. I have met people from London polytechics averaging a low 2.1 who say they are intending to practise as commercial barristers in the City.
    Surely if they were really serious about the thing, they would have checked out the websites of commercial sets and realised their achievements fall far short of people recruited to such Sets.
    Likewise, at a university (a Redbrick), there seemed to be a trend towards taking the LPC immediately by students who had failed to secure any vacation schemes for two years straight. Bizarre. Get real guys, if you are not smart/commercially savvy enough to recognise the risks of undertaking the LPC in ths climate, I probably wouldn't want you to be advising me on any legal/commercial aspects in the future either.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Law Society's 'let's be honest' campaign.....
    To all students: Unless you manage to wangle a place at an Oxbridge school, don't waste the legal profession's time by applying for a TC.
    Credit to City Gent.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Final comment I promise, but I have to say that I am alarmed by those of the mentality that only Oxbridge students need apply. I think you’ll find your only supporters are indeed flying the flag for nepotism. Anaon | 4-Aug-2009 12:51 pm clearly exemplifies how unfair the system can operate. It is a trite comment but we cannot escape the fact those going to Oxbridge are a fairly homogenous bunch; it says nothing of an individual’s character, circumstances, commercial awareness and so forth.
    Diversity should be encouraged, of course, not so far that we overlook academic excellence. I am certain there eminent lawyers amongst us that cannot claim such privileged beginnings and would look disdainfully upon those who continue to support such anachronistic ideas that only Oxbridge candidates are suitable for a career in the law.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Just to set someone straight here - If you are an ILEX fellow (note - not 'Member'), once you have passed the LPC you will normally be exempt from a training contract. But to reiterate, you must be a fellow for that exemption to apply.
    To quote Lawcareers.net (as it's quicker than typing it out):-
    'In order to qualify as an ILEX fellow you must:
    be 25 years old;
    be a member; and
    have completed five years’ qualifying legal experience, of which two years must have been completed after attaining membership status.
    During the five years you will be building up your client base and becoming a valued fee earner to your legal practice. Many employers pay for training, as a qualified lawyer is of great value to the firm.'
    I was on a part-time LPC with several ILEX fellows, all of which were due to qualifty straight away upon passing. Quite frankly, their 5 years 'qualifying experience' was more than ample in terms of gaining experience, and was probably of more use to the profession as a whole than my training contract ever was.
    So in short, ILEX fellows are normally exempt from TCs. But you have to accumulate some considerable workplace experience before you reach the point where the exemption will apply. ILEX members still need to do the TC and PSC.
    I'm sure 'Anonymous 3-Aug-2009 4:35pm' would have found out the distinction had he or she done his or her homework properly.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Some people need to learn the difference between 'fewer' and 'less'....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I think it must be made clear that the Law Society is not discouraging people to enter the profession. It is saying that people who do, should do so with their eyes fully open. Gone are the days when you could think of law as a safe career option. It is hard work. You can still send that message and promote diversity and access to the profession for all. The Law Society is simply looking to ensure that people don't waste thousands of pounds on a career that they have not fully researched. If people do understand the risks, but are certain that still they really want a career in law, then great.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Truth being told, it looks to me that it doesn't really matter what university you come from.
    For centuries a law degree has been perceived as an essential tool that would have opened the door to all sorts of working ambitions. It is only in recent decades that the real interest of legally qualified students has been to work as lawyers, sorry, solicitors. And, as most of us know, becoming a good lawyer is down to hard work, regardless to what firm you are in (City or Regional), and maybe a bit of luck. A good university degree can help you to have an interview, but it doesn't secure you a position.
    Finally, it is your client that will decide if you are worth it or not, and they normally don't really care what university delivered your certificate, they just care about you resolving their problem. For these reasons I also agree that a system of qualification (US & EU style) and a good competition is the way forward.
    Nothing, I am afraid, the Law Society can do to change that.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Why is this happening in Britain one asks. I am a Brit working as a lawyer in the US. The market over here is way more saturated than in the UK, and many many more lawyers have been laid off. Yet the vast majority of people graduating from law school this year - probably a good 90% of them (at least of those who pass the bar exam) - will qualify as lawyers and be working as lawyers by the end of the year, probably making at least twice the average wage or a fair amount more than what they would have w/out a law degree.
    It's just that - as in the UK - there are not many top paying $160K NQ jobs in big city commercial firms. They'll need to settle for humble starting salaries of $80K at smaller firms or government departments doing smaller scale commercial deals/cases or non-commercial law like crime, family, or insolvency. That's still better than flipping burgers or manning the cash register at Walmart for $8/hr!
    Law still pays as a profession. It seems to me that all of these UK based LLB/LPC grads want to work at big London firms starting on the equivalent of 80,000+ quid/year. They then complain that they sent out 50 CVs and didn't get a response. Well, not likely in this market if all you have is a redbrick 2.1 and some mooting honours. They need to think laterally or be less short term minded. Small firms are crying out for trainees but the grads won't settle for 20-30,000 quid, even though chances of being kept on and made partner earlier are much better than at the big firms, the hours are better, the work more interesting, and yes - lucrative too - esp, after 2PQE.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I must say I have enjoyed reading the various comments about the state of the legal profession in this jurisdiction. As someone who qualified and practiced extensively in another jurisdiction before coming over here, my views are from a different perspective.
    I honestly do not blame the Law Society for it's caveat on a career in law. The legal field is oversubsribed in most jusrisdictions, however in this jurisdiction, it's made even worse by the variosu routes involved. In the jusrisdiction I originally qualified from, there is no confusion as regards who a lawyer is. A lawyer simply is someone who has been called to bar after taking the bar exams.A law degree is a pre-requisite to admission to law school which sets the bar exams, a law degree takes 5 years to complete, law school takes a year. In Engalnd and Wales however, you do not even have to study law to become a lawyer, you could read "david beckham studies" in University, take a conversion course and proceed to other portions of which ever route you pick. Infact the term lawyer can be widely interpreted here, it includes legal executives, licenced conveyancers etc. With a situation like this, it's not surprising that finding legal work is extremely diificult as there are simply too many people in the field.
    In the firm I work work in which I honestly do not consider a real law firm though it's supposed to be a subsidiary of a major law firm, I have a few LPC graduates as colleagues. I actually feel bad for them as the realisation that they may never become Solicitors is hitting them. In that same firm there are many unqualified people, some even in positions of authority who only got the job because they had connections in the firm. The issue of getting jobs in law firms through connections isn's limited to city firms.It is however disheartening to see people appointed as team leaders without knowing basic legal concepts. An assitant team leader did not know what a "tort" is.
    I studied law admiring the brilliance I read in Judgments of English cases, I sincerely hope people with brilliant legal minds and genuine passion for the law find a place in the legal field.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This may sound harsh but students that take the risk of taking on substantial debts to enter a saturated profession can only blame themselves.
    I have no sympathy for them and they should take responsiblity for their own naivety and stop looking for some one else to blame. If a law student is not capable of understanding the extent of the risk he/she is taking, then that individual is not suited to be advising clients on business affairs or any other aspect of law.
    The only benefit to some students is that they may learn a significant lesson and would be unlikely to repeat the mistake in the future.
    My advice to those that are in substantial debt without a a TC would be to declare yourselves bankrupt and get rid of your debts.
    After that, they can start over and pick a less risky career. Ideally young people should look to move into what is in demand.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I don't want to be harsh, but PLEASE do a little research before forking out for the LPC. The legal profession is oversubscribed, which means downward pressure on salaries. Check out solicitors' average earnings: not much higher than those of a police officer or a nurse, despite the extra study and long hours. Britain needs engineers and scientists, not more default-option lawyers.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Just take the New York bar and then qualify as a UK solicitor via the QLTT - shimples!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I am shocked and saddened by some of the views I have read about this topic. Contrary to what some of the observers seem to think, you do not have to have been public school, oxbridge, select university etc educated or come from a priviledge background in order to aspire to be a lawyer or even be a good lawyer.

    From my experience what you need to be a good/successful lawyer is interest in the law, the will to work hard and determination to succeed - regardless of your family and or ethnic background you will achieve your aims in life if you prepared to work for it.

    I came to UK in 1983 from Nigeria with 3 pounds in my pocket without any qualifications. Today I am US and UK dual qualified. I studied law (2:2) at a new uni and I speak English as a second language. I have heard the sort of views expressed on this and related topics so many times - you speak with foreign assent, you dont speak proper english, you have not been to Russell Group, select etc uni, you studied at a new uni, and how can I forget, you are black, you have too much against you, no one will touch you. Its all nonsence. If you are determined you will get through.

    I admit getting into the law is extremely competitive and difficult because legal education cost so much.

    I agree with the first commentator, that the law society should consider abolishing the LPC and Training Contract, including the GDL. Let every one who wants be a lawyer get a law degree and let everyone sit the same Bar Exam set by the law society. The institutions that provides the LPC etc now do not have to loose out. They can provide tuition for the Bar Exam but all candidates will sit the same Bar Exam.

    The Law Society should also condsider abolishing the 3 year PQE rule prior to setting up on your own.

    The problem here is not only to do with the costs of legal education and limited opportunities. The issue is that there are far too many restrictions and obstacles one must overcome prior to becoming a fully qualified lawyer and then setting up on your own- namely LPC, TC and the 3 yr rule The Law Society should be bold enough to consider whether the long and cumbersome process is still required.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'm a General Counsel and I have had a CV sent from a recruitment consultant with an applicant desperately seeking to go in house with excellent academics from Eton and Oxford having also spent four years in a 'magic circle' firm. I would seriously reconsider a career in Law the whole market has changed. If you are smart you will pick a subject at degree level that you genuinely enjoy and if at the end of it if you seriously want to pursue a legal career persuade a law firm and get them to pay for the courses. Otherwise you can carry on along the path that you chose in the first place. Most law firms and recruiters look favorably upon first degrees other than law.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Maybe if she hadn't gone to South West Polytechnic she'd have gotten a job...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • About time. This has been going on for years with the result that Conveyancing bucket shops have been a sort of purgatory for Trainee Lawyers awaiting Training Contracts. The Law Society has finally awakened to the problem because bucket shops are not taking staff on and the numbers of semi qualified Lawyers out of work is growing along with the numbers of Qualified redundant Lawyers,
    To those who bleat on about the profession being elitist, I do not know how that works. You can do a Law Degree at any University, then you go into debt while you complete the Law Society finals, and then get a Training Contract and quaify earning millions of pounds a year if you believe the press.
    All Lawyers are "Fat Cats". That is the myth that has been peddled for years and students from poorer backgrounds have been encouraged by teachers and parents to follow that mythical dream only to find themselves still poor and heavily in debt.
    If elitism means that the poor are discouraged from becoming poorer and the only people who lose money are the wealthy, the elitism gets my vote.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I have very mixed feelings about this argument, as i agree with all of you to a certain extent..
    Firstly, these so called ' non select Universities..not good enough for City Law firms, AKA..Keele and Nottingham Trent, do have very bright students, who for very good enough reasons, never got a chance to attend Cambridge and Oxford, and may i remind the adamant commentor, that the problem starts from the bottom, while people are in primary schools, as you cant attend certian secondary schools if you went to certain primary schools and it goes on to the top.. hence graduates from Keele..bla bla..
    As for the Law society's big plan, its a plan ..yes..but the wrong plan.. i think its so easy to get into the LPC, with so many providers and very little checks/competition.. of course the profession is saturated... we are being sieved at the wrong stage.. and may i add at the stage after we have coughed up thousands of pounds to these organisations...
    Its a shame i guess that for some of us who are genuinely bright and hard working, and can almost certainly make something of this proffession by adding onto it, will never get a fair chance...
    U guys think u have it hard, try comming from Africa, studying at some university regarded as not good enough, being judged by the look of your name...its not fair at all..and knowing you are just as good as any of those being selected for training contracts.. or even better..as you have studied with them at Law school....that sucks...
    All the best to all of you looking for TC.. we will get there..somehow.. someday

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I have retired from practice after 25 years having been able to afford to give up full time work at 53. If you work hard and are persistent you can over come all of this negative bunkum. It was just the same in 1978/79 there were no articles unless you had family connections and even then you might have to wait months until the next vacancy came up. If you want to do it you can achieve anything so less of the excuses about student debt, the credit crunch and I dont have have any connections just believe in yourself and be persistent. Some of you out there think that the law owes you a living, it does not!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Writing as managing partner of a seven fee-earner practice I'm afraid I see short-sightedness on both sides of the interview desk. Even in a recession (and our turnover is down like so many others) a fantastic candidate is worth seeing.
    We recently took on two people who "sold" themselves to us with their common sense and affability when we weren't expecting to offer posts. One was a litigator who had been ill for years and out of the profession. His charming, and properly punctuated letter got him a chat with us and a part-time post. The other was a newly-qualified lady whose excellent CV and letter again got her a chat with us and an offer of a part-time post.
    Both are on part-time consultancy agreements with us. We provide training, pay the praticising fees etc and while neither has sufficient work yet to justify us offering a full time paid service contract, they can further their careers, are out of the pool of unemployment, are helping to market the firm and themselves and in return we get two great individuals at manageable cost given the economic situation.

    So partners should be looking at the great recruitment opportunities this time presents, especially given the fact they don't need to pay expensive (and often useless)recruitment consultants to get people right now.

    And let's be realistic on the other side. Your candidate letter and CV are your one opening shot at getting a position. If you write "University's" when you should have written "universities" or use "who" when you should have written "whom" or have a 2:2 at degree level which isn't counterbalanced by a distinction in the LPC, then I'm just not going to see you. I can train someone as a lawyer, but I want to know the candidate has excellent language and written skills and common sense. If you can't even punctuate properly, or you write me a covering letter on lined paper (yes I've had them on sheets torn from an A4 pad) or you offer to see me at your (rather than my) convenience, then your missive will go straight into the shredder.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I attended the College of Law in 1996 and even then there were many people (including me) who had not secured training contracts and had funded the course themselves. I went to the University of London (not a former poly), attained a 2:1 joint honours (which included law), went to a grammar school prior to that; yet that was not enough to secure a training contract with a well known firm. At one point, I actually considered other options outside the law, even getting offered a post with HM Revenue and Customs as a Customs Officer. However, I used my contacts and initiative and first obtained temporary employment working at a County Court. I then worked as a volunteer for a local law centre and the citizen's advice bureau. It was this experience which gave me the edge over other applicants for TC's and in the end I secured a TC with a 3-office 10 partner firm outside London. I had to wait and wait but when the time was right, the offer came.

    I could have given up and nearly did. I'm afraid there is much to be said for "being in the right place at the right time" and using your contacts. Even now, I use my contacts to get other work. Sadly, it sometimes does come down to who you know; but there are always ways of getting to know the right people.

    I have always been realistic with my expectations. I was never going to get in with a City firm; mainly because I had not attended a select university and select school. And I must add here that on the LPC , I met Oxbridge graduates who, if asked to write a simple letter to a client, weren't able to. One student never even used to bother turning up on time to LPC classes, yet had a TC with a top London firm!

    But I am a firm believer that if you really want something and are realistic, then you can have a careeer in law. It just may not be at the top end of the profession to start off with. I have since held posts as legal counsel within blue chip companies. I have instructed lawyers in City firms and sometimes they have made fundamental errors on various matters (that I have picked up on) or worse, they cannot make make decisions on anything or use initiative. I accept that this may be a minority of such lawyers but the profession paints them as being the cream of the crop when in reality some of them arent and are only there because they went to a good university.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This development is deeply worrying. It is bad enough that the law profession is elitist, but by warning students off on the basis of the financial costs of embarking upon such a career will only serve to deter those students from poorer backgrounds. The rich students will not be put off as mummy and daddy are there to feed them cash. The Law Society should perhaps focus on LPC provides who seem all too willing to accept anyone on the course and then lead to a glut of LPC graduates. If some entrance levels were set, this would reduce the amount of students doing the course, but based on merit and not income

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Restricting choice is of course simply not cricket. If the campaign mentioned by this article is currently contemplated, and is aimed at putting off the solicitors/barristers of the future, regardless of socio-economic designation, then one simply must ask where the moral code has gone in this country? Has immorality taken hold of our senses? Choice is not something to be sniffed at. Choice must be this nation's backbone.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • To the individual who posted above.
    I think you have misunderstood the nature of the campaign.
    The Law Society is pointing out the risk of entering a saturated market. At the end of the day £10,000 for the LPC is a lot of money particularly if you are poor.
    What happens to all those poor people who have paid for the LPC and are now unemployed?
    Is that fair on them? The Law Society is right to highlight the risk of unemployment. The risk is obviously elevated if the individual concerned has limited means.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • To the individual who has posted anonymously at 1.52pm yesterday.
    Nonsense.
    Students today take on loans and if truly pressed can achieve local authority assistance. The £10+k price tag, if a student is truly passionate about studying the law, should not be something that dissuades them. Bank managers will structure repayments in such a way that if needs be, and the person is still applying for a traineeship, they will be able to afford these through part time jobs. Bank managers recognise that the trainee lawyers of today are the senior partners or heads of chambers of tomorrow.
    People have one life. If they want to study to be lawyers, who are you or I to stop them? For those that are seriously committed, they will find the funds. In this market a litigious seat in their training contract if they are aiming to be a solicitor, a criminal seat, an immigration seat or even an employment seat, will more or less guarantee them a job.

    My message to those that are hunting is be proactive and call/send letters out and visit courts and network with lawyers at the association meetings that lawyers attend. Try and mingle with the people you want to work with and convince them that you are a good egg. They will recognise that and you might be able to broker a traineeship/articles for yourself.

    I would suggest that all those that are contemplating the law ignore the immoral effort of this "initiative" if it comes into fruition and stand up for their right to their own choice of career.

    I will finally speak about a radio-piece from a senior GP from the BMA on Radio 4 who spoke on the program some months back about the fact that there are over 100 GPs going for every GP post. He said that some decades ago, when it was another time of recession there was a lot of unemployment in the medical profession and GP jobs were scarce, they all did locum roles or whatever they could, waiting for the upturn in the economy and job-increase, which did eventually come. He recommended that current GP-doctors do the same thing, while actively job-hunting, and locum/work part-time, and keep applying. He rose to a senior policy post and said that that happened because of his determination to succeed.

    Jobs will come, and my message to those contemplating the law is to have faith in that. Be entrepreneurial about your efforts to 1) fund your career, and 2) how you get the role you want. Explore every avenue. If you have 200 rejections, keep going, the 250th or the 300th may be the "one".

    Be active.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • To the poster above at 9:10am
    You just don't get it do you?
    The legal market is significantly saturated.
    The free market is telling people not to pursue law. The opportunities are not there to justify the investment of time and money.
    One is better off analysing what roles are in demand.
    Only fools follow the herd and this is what you are advocating people should do.
    Instead people should start being realistic about risk taking. I would love to drive a Ferrari F1 car but there is little point in me investing time and money to pursue that as it is clearly far too risky to aim for.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Re: "It started with the Tower of Babel.."
    Have you studied the LPC? If so then you must have missed the large percentage of people sold a pipe dream who lacked the raw minerals to succeed as a lawyer (regardless of their socio-economic background).
    Simply pointing out to people the expensive means to a non-guaranteed end is prudent in my view. I hardly think this qualifies as "immorality". In fact, immorality is an LPC provider casting too wide a net and taking money off any Tom, Dick and Harry, regardless of their ill prospects as a lawyer.
    You strike me as the sort of chap who would have lapped up the American Dream during the early 20th century.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Hello again Anonymous (7-Oct-2009 6:38 pm; 7-Oct-2009 10:36 pm).
    Ferrari or not, dreams are what spurs mankind on. Dreams can be humble or they can be stupendous, but they should not be curtailed simply because some third party deigns to decree that simply put "all dreams are off".
    Go into a school/college/university and tell the students that they should give up their dream of becoming the next Cherie Booth, Lord Denning or Nigel Boardman.
    Every student should simply listen to their own advice and aim for what they want. Be that writer, tennis star, doctor, lawyer, or even X-factor finalist.
    Better to have lived, than to always wonder in one's life, evermore, "..what if...".

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • To the poster above.

    But you have misunderstood the Law Society's campaign.

    The Law Society is not curtailing any person's "dreams."

    It is simply saying to people that deciding to train as a solicitor is very risky. That is clearly the responsible thing to do!!

    If an individual decides to take the risk then good luck to him/her. The problem is the many that fail often end up complaining to the Law Society how unfair life is!!

    The Law Society along with the College of Law is then accused of misleading people.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I cannot belive the arrogance and ignorance of the poster who said that their classes were slowed down for the students from polytechnics. Excuse me, but I have a first degree in criminology, the GDL with commendation and a Masters in Legal Studies (all from Polytechnics.) I achieved first class marks in all of my GDL assessments. I possess common sense, I'm not a selfish person, I show understanding to basic issues, can articulate any argument well. What can you do? Come on here and be so ignorant as to criticise anybody who has been to an ex poly (do you know the 1992 legilsation converting Polies into Unis - probably not). You don't deserve a job as a lawyer; a lawyer needs to have a balanced mind and see the bigger picture, researching and analysing data to create an argument. That takes more than a pseudo snob who is just a wet behind the ears kid with attitude but hasn't got the rudimentary social skills to do anything. Thank God, I'm touching 40 and have plenty of work experience behind me to now PUSH my way through to becoming a barrister.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Dear Anonymous | 12-Oct-2009 9:15 pm
    If someone complains about taking a course in life they chose to take then life itself may be providing them with a lesson from which they are learning.
    The important factor is that they chose their course. No one should dictate/warn or "educate" about risks of any endeavour excessively. A campaign to educate about debt/inability to get a job should properly be deemed to be an unduly excessive campaign.
    Every student entering on to a course with a career in mind, particularly those who want to be a solicitor or barrister, will grasp the basic ramifications of their decision. The figures for fees etc. are clear. If they are of limited means, the figures will be painfully clear. The fact is that it is still their choice and neither you nor I should stop them from making it.
    Human beings constantly decide upon courses of action and to set out upon a career path is something every person must be allowed to be able to do. To say otherwise might be deemed a tad dictatorial.
    Risk is attached to any profession today. Working for Brawn, the Government, a corner shop or a law firm, all have different types of risk attached to them.
    To campaign to allow students to understand the risks of an endeavour before they set out on it smacks of telling someone about the risks in joining the fire brigade for example. You might be killed in a blaze, or you might serve the British public in a valued and respected profession. The risks are potentially more serious than debt, but nonetheless one does not see campaigns from the London Fire Brigade warning that if a student joins a fire-fighting training academy, they could die within a few years once they are on active duty. The student knows, but most importantly, the student decides on the course and chooses it.
    Choice is vital. Debt is attached to all courses to train for all professions. To become a professional lawyer is something to be praised as an ambition in a child. They should be nurtured, encouraged, and given guidance as to how to become the next highly effective cog in the machinery of our legal system.
    If you are student and you want to learn the art of how to be a lawyer, do it. Ignore stick in the muds who say there will be obstacles. Passion, but most importantly hard work and perseverance, will bring exam results, then ensued career success. Be unswerving in your dedication to your chosen career, and later on, the people that you meet at networking events, during deals, in court, or in life generally, will recognise that, and will instruct you.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 per page | 20 per page | 50 per page |

Have your say

Mandatory Required Fields

Mandatory

Comments that are in breach or potential breach of our terms and conditions in particular clause 8, may not be published or, if published, may subsequently be taken down. In addition we may remove any comment where a complaint is made in respect of it. These actions are at our sole discretion.

  • Print
  • Comments (65)