News Careers Law firms Law Society to students: legal career may be too risky By Margaret Taylor 28 July 2009 15:36 17 December 2015 16:08 Sign in or register to continue reading. It's FREE Sign in Email Password Keep me logged in Forgot your password? Not registered? It's FREE! Register now Register with The Lawyer Nicholas Reid 28 July 2009 at 16:03 The bottom line is having the right pieces of paper is not enough. If you show a lot of interest by getting the right experience and you having a variety of skills then you certainly have a chance. Reply Link Will 28 July 2009 at 16:12 If anything is going to further reduce the number of people from non-privileged backgrounds entering the legal profession, it is a campaign telling students that pursuing a career in law may lead to financial ruin (unless your mummy and daddy are able to bail you out). Wonderful to see the extra £300 on the cost of the practising certificate going to such good use. Cretins. Reply Link LawyerNot2B 28 July 2009 at 16:32 What a complete waste of money – if a student can’t figure out these risks on their own then you have to question whether they will ever cut it as a solicitor. This problem needs a much more radical solution similar to the BSB’s BVC aptitude test. Reply Link Metallica 28 July 2009 at 17:05 This is interesting considering the College of Law have opened another branch in Bristol. LawyerNot2B – I do not agree. A lot of students are fed so much hype, PR and dreams about a lovely rosy route to being a lawyer. Someone needs to tell them the harsh reality. A degree is not enough anymore. The Law Society should be persuading firms to offer more placements. Work experience is so crucial. The candidate doesn’t lose out – if they get taken on, great. If not, they have work experience on their CV. Reply Link Anonymous 28 July 2009 at 17:08 The statement regarding the position in Scotland is incorrect. I started the LPC equivalent (the DLP) without having secured a training contract and in the current climate there are many people doing the DLP right now who do not yet have, and possibly will not ever get, traineeships. But I did know about how difficult/expensive risky it would be to try and qualify as a solicitor before starting the LLB. Because I did some research on the internet… Reply Link City Gent 28 July 2009 at 17:08 This is just a reflection of a much wider problem caused by the ludicrous government policy of attempting to force 50% of the population into higher education. The plain fact is that most people are just too thick to get a worthwhile degree. Giving them a Noddy degree from the University of Noddyland is simply a cruel deception, and the fact that the poor darlings think it’s worth having is simply proof of how dense they are. Not only are these poor sods being persuaded away from useful non-graduate jobs that they would probably enjoy and that would pay them a decent income, they’re being lured into £20,000 or £30,000 of debt in the false promise of a well-paid career. So the Law Society are doing them a favour, though as has already been pointed out if the would be lawyers can’t work out for themselves that they’re wasting their time they aren’t bright enough to be lawyers anyway. Reply Link Dexter 28 July 2009 at 17:14 Damned idiots. Double damned idiots for them allowing everyone and their dog to offer the CPE and LPC in the first place. Reply Link Anonymous 28 July 2009 at 17:18 What people seem to forget it that there are other alternative routes to become a lawyer which aren’t so academically snobbish and which are more affordable. The Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) was established in 1963 and has been chosen by 80,000 aspiring lawyers. For those with no previous legal qualifications, the formal training to become a Legal Executive Lawyer is comprised of two stages: 10 units of study to achieve the Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice (set at ‘A’ level standard), followed by six units of study to achieve the Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice (set at degree-level). This takes around four years part-time but the full cost of qualifying is only around £5500, compared to between £3,000 – £7,000 of CPE/GDL fees on top of the LPC/BVC fees for non-law graduates who wish to be solicitors or barristers. If you already hold a qualifying law degree you will be entitled to join ILEX as an Associate member and use the designatory letters “A.Inst.L.Ex” after your name. To complete your academic studies to become a lawyer, you just need to study two ILEX Level 6 practice units (one of which must have been studied as part of your law degree), and the ILEX Level 6 Client Care Skills qualification. This costs only around £1350, compared to the LPC fees of around £6,000 – £10,000 for aspiring solicitors or BVC fees of £8,000 – £11,000 for barristers. If you already hold the LPC or the BVC you do not have to take the ILEX qualifications, and can immediately apply to become a Graduate Member of ILEX and use the designatory letters “G.Inst.L.Ex”. Your initial ILEX application will cost you just £590 (including registration, exemption and membership charges), which will drop to around £155 annual membership fees thereafter. As well as the relevant academic qualifications, you also need to have a minimum of five years’ qualifying employment, including at least two consecutive years’ experience after successful completion of your ILEX Level 6 qualifications or your LPC/BVC studies. Then you can apply to be a qualified lawyer and use the designatory letters “F.Inst.L.Ex.”. There is no training contract or pupillage required. No further full-time study required: complete your ILEX qualifications by part-time study or distance learning and so earn and learn at the same time and so avoid further debt. Places as a trainee Legal Executive lawyer may well be available when formal training contracts or pupillages aren’t. Legal Executives who wish to transfer to become solicitors are usually exempt from the SRA’s 2-year training contract. These days you can represent your clients in court if you study to be a Legal Executive Advocate, and Legal Executive lawyers are eligible to apply for judicial appointment and to become partners in legal disciplinary firms. There are many benefits to becoming a lawyer through ILEX, and the gaps between being a solicitor, barrister or legal executive lawyer are fast diminishing. Reply Link Beth Wanono (Law Society Council Member for Junior 28 July 2009 at 18:17 To “Will” It is not about discouraging those who have the skills but not the money – it’s about making sure they know there are other routes (such as ILEX or part-time study) of entry. And it’s about making everyone at a similar level aware that they should think carefully before they get into debt. It is easy for posters here to be cynical (I think it comes easy to lawyers!) but the truth is that many students aren’t aware of all of the options out there and we should be doing everything we can to make sure that they don’t sign up for debts which will cripple them later in life. It’s also about making those who do decide to take the plunge aware that they need to be thinking as early as possible about work experience, about getting as strong academics as they can, about getting involved in anything which could make them a stronger candidate. I know this may be obvious, but I don’t think it can be said enough. Reply Link Anonymous 28 July 2009 at 18:29 I think it is wise to warn people with average A-levels and degrees from non-respected Universities to avoid crippling themselves financially by pursuing a career as a barrister or solicitor, where there is little or no hope of making it. However, this is the job of the government, schools and careers services – not the society which is meant to protect and promote the interests of our profession. Reply Link Anonymous 28 July 2009 at 18:45 I have very good A-levels, degree from red brick Uni, really good grades from GDL and passed the LPC first time with good grades. I have no training contract. I know people on my LPC who failed modules I passed with ease who have a TC with a firm that I applied to 5 days ago and rejected by 3 days ago without even a telephone interview. How does that work? maybe companies should be making HR actual earn their money and go hunt for the best candidates instead of waiting for students to come to them. Reply Link Anonymous 28 July 2009 at 18:53 I totally agree with ‘City Gent’ that this is another sympton of the wholly ill advised government strategy to get more people to university. Not everyone can cut it and these “Noddy universities” that have popped up, although justified to an extent by the increase in demand, simply aren’t good enough to make these graduates really competitive in the marketplace. In addition, I do think the law school’s have something to do with this. As ‘Will’ puts it above, why are they opening up more sites offering the very courses that get aspiring lawyers in such astronomical debt? The College of Law will be opening another new site in Manchester this September as well as this new site in Bristol that ‘Will’ mentions. This problem existed before the recession and has merely been exacerbated by the downturn. Reply Link Anonymous 28 July 2009 at 19:46 I am a Partner in a law firm with a turnover in excess of £50million and I can honestly say that half of the people who applied to my firm this year have no chance whatsoever of obtaining a training contract. Poor grades, no work experience, no life experience BUT, crucially, they have been to (typically) to BPP or the college of law and have bought an LPC qualification that will never be of use to them in a professional capacity – reason: they cannot and will not get a training contract. Legal training is now a business. In my day you applied to law college and got in on merit. Now it is open to anyone with £10,000 and a dream. It is a shame all round. Remember, legal training is a business. They (BPP etc) will sell it to you whether or not it will be a good investment for you taking into account your personal circumstances. Maybe they should be regulated by the FSA!! Ho ho. Reply Link Cynical Steve 28 July 2009 at 20:04 Hmmm…. rather sounds like how black cabs in london keep their fares so dear – by stopping too many people from getting in on the racket and lowering prices because of competition. No one outside of the profession believes for a moment this is being done in the interest of people trying to become a lawyer. Reply Link City Gent 28 July 2009 at 20:36 This is just a reflection of a much wider problem caused by the ludicrous government policy of attempting to force 50% of the population into higher education. The plain fact is that most people are just too thick to get a worthwhile degree. Giving them a Noddy degree from the University of Noddyland is simply a cruel deception, and the fact that the poor darlings think it’s worth having is simply proof of how dense they are. Not only are these poor sods being persuaded away from useful non-graduate jobs that they would probably enjoy and that would pay them a decent income, they’re being lured into £20,000 or £30,000 of debt in the false promise of a well-paid career. So the Law Society are doing them a favour, though as has already been pointed out if the would be lawyers can’t work out for themselves that they’re wasting their time they aren’t bright enough to be lawyers anyway. Reply Link Anonymous 28 July 2009 at 21:55 Is this not the same Law Society which is in favour of abolishing the training contract to flood the market with LPC passers? Reply Link Anonymous 28 July 2009 at 21:59 Ask a candidate for the legal profession to define “justice” and distinguish between “customer” and “client” and you may be able to identify the Stephen Frys and the T.V. newsreader calibre candidates. I suspect the majority of the later will have better CVs. It is the T.V. newreader candidates (Natasha Kaplinsky excepted) that modern legal services will need in the years to come. Reply Link Anonymous 28 July 2009 at 22:13 I have average A-Levels, a below average degree (2:2) from a Noddy University. I secured a training contract with a National Firm and now aged 32, am a Partner in a Regional Firm. This is all about personality. If one has an abundance of drive and ambition (and a bit of technical ability) one will get very far in this profession.The art of bullshit needs to be learned in these tough times. The Law Society needs to back off. Reply Link Anonymous 29 July 2009 at 01:02 Whilst I may not like the tone of City Gent’s post I have to agree with the sentiment. We have a ridiculous situation in which huge numbers of students are going to university with very poor grades. If a student cannot succeed at further education then they should not be going onto higher education, except where there are mitigating circumstances. I find it frankly insulting that students with CCC (sometimes lower) are going to universities and coming out with a 2:1, the exact same grade as someone else who has entered university with AAA. I also find it horrific that I have many friends going to do law degrees with CCC and below and thinking that they will get decent law jobs. Universities will happily take them on, knowing full well that these students have ambitions that are frankly unattainable – these universities are literally ripping off these students. I went to a rather poor (academically in particular) state school yet managed to receive good grades and go to a top university – university, like a career in law, should be for the academic elite regardless of background. What we need are less places, but increased support for those who come from less than conventional background (ie quality not quantity). Reply Link Law scholar 29 July 2009 at 06:50 Interesting. But, why not introduce a straight forward system like in the USA? You sit for a bar exam, and you are done. In this way, we do away with the LPC’s and BVC’s so as to allow all who have done law to qualify and compete thereafter, on a fair plain? Reply Link Jack Vance 29 July 2009 at 08:15 As a UK citizen/US lawyer who works in the US, it seems to me that the problem isn’t too many law grads and not enough jobs. We have many more lawyers per capita over here than in England, and yet it is still considered a great field to qualify into. The ABA and state bar associations would never dream of publically discouraging people from going to law school. The payoff – even if you don’t get one of the better jobs – is still a good 3/4x what you’d make without a law degree, and the lifetime premium is still that much more so as to easily justify law school debt. Many “jobless” law grads are still able to find contract work making anywhere from $30-50/hr depending on city. It’s better and more satisfying and carries much more potential that stocking shelves at the local supermaket for $8/hr! The problem in the UK isn’t a lack of legal work. There is a demand for legal services. However, the qualification route is too staggered. Here in the US law school is just 3 years and once in it is pretty much guaranteed that you will qualify as a lawyer, since provided you graduate you can take the bar exam, and if you pass the bar exam you are immediately admitted/called and get a license/practising certificate which has no restrictions whatsoever. In contrast, it takes 6 (more like 9) years to qualify in the UK and various people have to make decisions about you along the way. First, you need to get into a good law degree program. Second, you then have to get accepted on the LPC. Third, a firm then has to offer you a training contract. Fourth, they must then offer you an NQ position. Fifth, you need to last in that job at least 3 years before all restrictions are removed from your practising certificate. It is only at 3 PQE that you are really a full fledged lawyer in your own right. Malpractice insurance is almost 5-10x what it is in the US. Practising certificate fees are about 5x. Then there is 15-7.5% VAT on services. Everything from legal training to legal practice is so over regulated. My insurance is $900/year, my license is $350/yr, and there’s no tax on legal services. I couldn’t find a great job after graduating from law school in the US. However, that didn’t stop me making $100 for every will, $700 for every straightforward divorce, or $1,000 for every minor criminal case I took on. Even without good job offers I was able to pull down about $70,000 after income taxes and minimal overhead. Reply Link Another Cynic 29 July 2009 at 09:08 Correct Anonymous, plan is to abolish the TC and fill firms with halfwit graduates/LPC passers who haven’t got a clue, pushing professional indemnity policy premiums through the roof… Reply Link Trainer 29 July 2009 at 10:43 Jack Vance@8:15, says it all. The best post so far. And for those of you who think that Law studies should be for the elite, you are utterly wrong. As an academic discipline – yes. As a vocation, read Richard Susskind and learn some humility. Reply Link Anonymous 29 July 2009 at 10:45 The job market as a whole is suffering. If law is your passion, if it is truly what you want to do with your life, then nothing can stand in your way. Reply Link Mark 29 July 2009 at 12:02 Isn’t this just a shrewd move by the Law Society (on behalf of we lawyers) to ensure that we keep supply of lawyers sufficiently low and demand sufficiently high in order to return to the pay-hikes we saw during the period from 2005 to 2008? Hear Hear! 😉 Reply Link Anonymous 29 July 2009 at 13:10 How about we launch an online petition to the government to abolish once and for all the utterly useless SRA and put an end to its complete mismanagement of everything it seems to touch. Reply Link Omni Consumer Products 29 July 2009 at 13:28 Here’s a better idea for a petition – abolish the GDL for anyone under the age of thirty. That way, if you want to be a lawyer you’ll have to be prepared to work for it instead of converting after sleepwalking through a Basket Weaving degree. Reply Link Anonymous 29 July 2009 at 13:29 To Anonymous | 28-Jul-2009 6:45 pm, you are missing the point entirely. Yes, you may have very good A level grades, you may have done well in the GDL and have attended a good redbrick, and yes it does sound like you are a very good student. However, as harsh as this may sound, there are students who have excellent A level grades and have gone to one of the more elite universities (I am not merely speaking of Oxbridge). In this current climate in which TC are scarce there are simply better candidates and what might once have seemed like a “great candidate” now seems like an “average candidate”. Not to belittle your talent or intelligence, but I would take a long hard look at why you were rejected so early from the firm you mention. Reply Link Krusty the Clown 29 July 2009 at 13:48 Well it’s about time! I’m sick of seeing tv dramas, movies and ads from Universities and the like encouraging young people from all walks of life to become lawyers. The law is not for everyone, for every background nor is it for every level of academic performance. The big firms don’t even want law degrees – they want people with degrees in beard growing or interpretive dance from Oxford or Cambridge or people who went to at least one private school (even if that amounted to the windswept penal colony off the Norfolk coast beloved of John Mortimer’s Rumpole). The provinces risk blindness in cooing and fondling their wretched selves over the prospects of harvesting ex city refugees (they don’t want Bash Street Kids applying to join them in their Hyacincth Bucket quest to join the magic circle) and as for the small firms? Let’s face it, the small firms don’t appeal to anyone who came into the profession looking to buy at least one yacht and to bed Tara Rara Tompkinson or Paris Hilton before settling down into a stately home so they could nip next door to borrow sugar or a tin of Ronseal from Paul McCartney or his ex. Cluttering the profession with PC encouraged applicants with 3rd class degrees from Battersea Yoof Centre is doing no one any favours. The middle classes outnumber the working classes not because of some Dickensian unfairness but because middle class culture is geared towards education and graduate study while your average tower block bunch are only interested in bling, booze and securing bail! Reply Link Metallica 29 July 2009 at 14:18 Omni Consumer Products – abolish the GDL for anyone under 30?! What rubbish. So in your world if someone got a 1st in a science degree and developed a passion for IP law they would be stopped from doing the GDL? Utter nonsense. Reply Link Alex 29 July 2009 at 14:22 Unless you are some sort of saddo that gets a major hard on by working mega long hours, enjoys knit picking over silly points and genuinely prefers reading Hansard reports over anything else, the Law Society should be encouraging students to look beyond the cash and go and do something more worthwhile and fun instead of pursuing a legal career. If in doubt, tell them to read Bleak House – it applies as much today (irrespective of the Woolf reforms – yawn) as it did back in Dickens’s time. Reply Link Anonymous 29 July 2009 at 14:27 As someone who is a week or so away from accepting an offer to change careers and study a degree in Law at Oxford Brookes, this news is certainly concerning. Is this warning aimed at the lower achieving bracket of students who are lack luster in their approach and ability, or is this something all law students should be concerned with – even those with exemplary results and references? Reply Link trina mahoney 29 July 2009 at 14:32 whatever Reply Link Anonymous 29 July 2009 at 17:09 Oh dear, oh dear! What frighteningly arrogant and unpleasant creatures you baby would-be lawyers seem to be. As a female Oxbridge graduate who has reached the top of another profession as difficult if not more so to get into than law, who tuned in to this item to look for advice for my son, I am genuinely surprised at the superior and unsympathetic attitudes betrayed. I suppose in some cases it must be disappointment speaking, but it is very unappealing. Can one be a genuinely successful lawyer with such a lack of empathy with the situation of others? Reply Link Former Mature Student. 29 July 2009 at 17:22 Dear ‘Anonymous | 29-Jul-2009 5:09 pm’. Thankfully we’re not all like that, and despite many of the narrow-minded responses above, it’s possible to succeed notwithstanding having an unorthodox background and be a better candidate/trainee/lawyer for it. For what it’s worth, I don’t like most other lawyers either, but I already have plenty of friends. I only read the comments sections of this site for amusement. At times, it’s quite compelling. Best of luck to your son. With employers like these commenting here, he’s going to need it. Reply Link CN 29 July 2009 at 18:08 The Law Society make this far more difficult for themselves than they need to. Where a student (such as Eleanor – see article) has completed the LPC, they are then barred from qualifying as a solicitor via the ‘earn as you learn’ ILEX qualification route, and must complete a training contract. Those who have not completed the LPC are not so barred. My wife ran into this problem, and was left in limbo for three years before securing a training contract and (happily, for her) obviating the need for a battle on this point. Simply removing this rather puzzling obstacle to an alternative means of qualifying as a solicitor would give rise to many more determined, experienced solicitors qualifying by a less risky (and possibly more worthy) means and by their own pluck and courage. I wonder whether the Law Society has considered this? Is it a demarcation issue between LS and ILEX? Reply Link Jack Vance 30 July 2009 at 00:30 I want to make another comment. The lawyer job losses are very sector specific. Just like here in the US, it is mostly corporate and real estate lawyers who are being laid off. And we all know that it’s company stock and real estate that experience bubbles and subsequent bursts. Anyone who has studied company law knows this. Ditto real estate law. The Law Society should not be discouraging people from becoming lawyers per se. There’s huge demand in other areas, many of which pay well, like insolvency and litigation. A bear market has little effect on the need for family, criminal, and estate planning/probate lawyers. By all means warn students that getting into the top firms is difficult and more so when those firms largely depend on high end corporate work fueled by stock and housing booms. But if you have a 2.1 from a decent uni and interest in and aptitude for legal practice, then you should get a position somewhere if you are more open minded and less short term focused. Seems to me that almost every UK law grad wants a TC at a big MC, City or US firm in London doing mostly corporate type work. Sure the starting salaries are much better than in the provinces, high street, niche practices etc, but give the attrition rate at large firms and their exposure to market volatility, it may be that those who started at smaller firms with more diversified practice areas will actually still be in a job, paid better, and more content than those who fled or were laid off from big firm corporate practice. Someone who is focused will always do well in whatever legal practice area they choose. I don’t care if it’s criminal law. The top criminal lawyers in England make very good money. Become an expert in whatever field you choose and you’ll do very well. There are partners with 5PQE at small firms who make the same as and more than associates of the same PQE at the large firms, work better hours, and have a more diverse practice. Reply Link Anonymous 30 July 2009 at 07:17 When one cuts throught the arrogance and vitriol of CityGent’s and Krusty’s comments, there is some sense. Too many university graduates whether law or not are saturating the legal jobs market and its is therefore hardly surprising that in a time when MC, SC City and National firms are refusing applications en masse for future training contracts that unemployment figures and levels of personal debt are spiralling. The Law Society is in a somewhat difficult position given the inherrent institutional and cultural problems innititiated by New Labour. Whilst eduation is a right and not a privillege, university is probably not the right option for someone with lower grades. This applies more to studying law than perhaps any other discipline (medicine apart). For many graduating this year and next, firms will quickly sift through their applications and for a large proportion, the inevitable dissapointment will ensue. Its unfair. But so’s life. Reply Link Anonymous 30 July 2009 at 08:56 I have average a levels from a average university and yet I am still applying for training contracts. I think people need to be very realistic. Vacation days are all very nice but actual awareness and experience of what you want to do is key in the current climate. I now have 2 years commercial insurance experience and also valuable contacts in the London insurance market. I recommend anyone who truly wants be a solicitor and didn’t get their first or doesn’t have the family connections, get off your ass and get creative!!! Reply Link Determined 30 July 2009 at 19:35 Just as I was pondering my career options post-degree, whether to apply for the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or do a Masters, or pursue something else entirely, having been made to feel like I wasn’t good enough and would never get anywhere by a law lecturer who shall remain anonymous (not just me I hasten to add, he told an entire lecture theatre this), I was very recently reminded that I should never give up my dream. This being a dream, a vision, a passion, call it what you will, that I’ve had for several years. I’ve always wanted to study law, to get into the profession, to make a difference. I’d never envisaged doing anything else. But then I was told I was naïve. Maybe. But I’d rather be naïve than attempting to enter the legal profession because I was being seduced by the idea of the Magic Circle, the mega salaries and the extravagant bonuses. I’ve never been interested in working in the elitist firms and earning a fortune. I want to work in the legal profession for truly altruistic reasons. I want to help people. I want to make a difference. And to be honest, I’m not bothered if I’m not making a killer fortune. The Law Society have some legitimate reasons in trying to dissuade potential students and applicants from embarking on a career in law. I know there is a recession and that lawyers across different sectors are being laid off, and that training contracts have been made even more scarce, and as a result of this, it’s going to get increasingly harder to progress from a degree to a career. Fair enough, I know it’s expensive. Degrees and professional qualifications are not cheap. Students need to be realistically aware of the debt involved. But what about those of us that have that dream, that vision, that passion of having a career in law? The comments on the above article certainly made for interesting reading. Anonymous | 28-Jul-2009 7:46 pm “Now it is open to anyone with £10,000 and a dream. It is a shame all round.” Yes it is a god damn shame that those of us with a real passion for the Law are being dissuaded, discouraged and shoved out of the door with not so much as a backward glance. Who wants a generic work force? Surely passion and dreams are the keys to having an amazing career that we care about and genuinely approach with enthusiasm? Saying that, students are constantly being fed the idea that the route to a career is a rosy path. Degree, LPC, training contract (TC) and ta-da you’ve made it. Sorry, but these days it’s just not that simple. To believe that this is the only route to becoming a solicitor is misleading. I for one, thought that was the only way. But then my eyes were truly opened. There are alternative routes. Having the LPC qualification under your belt does not guarantee you a training contract. However, at Law School, the idea of undergoing formal training with the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) is much under-publicized. It’s a much more affordable route, and you don’t have to have a 2 year training contract to complete at the end of it. And you can enter it at any stage, whether that’s without any professional qualifications, with a law degree, or with or without the LPC. This is definitely a route I am going to further research. Some of the more positive comments on the above mentioned story are more in line with my way of thinking. Anonymous | 28-Jul-2009 10:13 pm “This is all about personality. If one has an abundance of drive and ambition (and a bit of technical ability) one will get very far in this profession. The art of bullshit needs to be learned in these tough times. The Law Society needs to back off.” Anonymous | 29-Jul-2009 10:45 am “The job market as a whole is suffering. If law is your passion, if it is truly what you want to do with your life, then nothing can stand in your way.” Jack Vance | 30-Jul-2009 0:30 am “But if you have a 2.1 from a decent uni and interest in and aptitude for legal practice, then you should get a position somewhere if you are more open minded and less short term focused. Someone who is focused will always do well in whatever legal practice area they choose. I don’t care if it’s criminal law. The top criminal lawyers in England make very good money. Become an expert in whatever field you choose and you’ll do very well.” If you take anything from this, it should be that your dream is the one thing that nobody can take from you. Go after it, chase it, pursue it, make it real, make it happen, no matter who puts you down or the obstacles that may stand in your way. Anonymous | 30-Jul-2009 8:56 am “I recommend anyone who truly wants be a solicitor and didn’t get their first or doesn’t have the family connections, get off your ass and get creative!!!” Believe in yourself, believe in your dream and have the courage to fight for it. Stand your ground, fight your corner and say your piece. You will get there in the end if you want it enough. Your passion is worth striving for. Reply Link Anonymous 31 July 2009 at 11:43 I think it is a good idea to warn of the dangers, as long as it does not give too much of a detriment to the profession. I studied my degree at a ‘non respected’ University, and then went onto complete my BVC. There have always been difficulties in getting pupillage and or training contracts, this will never change. What is important is the social skills as well as academic skills of a person. More often than not, someone with life experience can do far better than someone that has been fed by their parents. Further, if a student wants a career in law, nothing will stop their determination. Reply Link Edmund de la Pole 31 July 2009 at 14:31 I think what needs to happen is LPC numbers should be restricted to roughly match the number of annual training contracts, in much the same way that number of places on teaching courses are decided. There is no doubt that too many institutions are currently using, especially GDL, and some LPC courses merely to make money. Entry standards should rise for GDL courses, and institutions should stop deceiving people from low ranked universities, with poor alevels and a poor degree, that they have a chance of earning £100,000 a year as a solicitor in the city. Reply Link Anonymous 31 July 2009 at 16:40 It is completely incorrect to state that the Diploma in Legal Practice at Scottish universities which offer it do not accept candidates who have not secured a training contract. May I recommend that the author does some research. From the Law Society of Scotland’s Diploma web page: “It should also be noted that gaining a place on, or successful completion of, a Diploma course does NOT guarantee a training contract or future employment in the legal profession in Scotland.” http://www.lawscot.org.uk/training/Diploma.aspx Reply Link Jack Vance 31 July 2009 at 22:38 Another thing. If there are too many people coming out of the LLB/LPC, then why are firms up in arms over the government’s plans to make it harder to recruit lawyers from overseas? Many firms poach overseas lawyers straight out of law school (or shortly thereafter) to come to London to do work which could easily be done by a UK lawyer. I guess the firms are saved the expense of training them, but many (not all) of these lawyers come from jurisdictions where one qualifies straight out of law school without having done a 2 year training period. However, these same firms are reluctant to support a reform of UK legal education so that it becomes a postgrad degree without the need for a training contract. What gives? These firms are constantly saying that they need to recruit from overseas – even for UK based roles which are not foreign legal consultant roles i.e to practise English law – because there just aren’t enough people coming out of UK law schools! For some reason UK law firms (much like the medical profession) would prefer to hire qualified overseas lawyers, thereby evading the expense of training them, and shafting UK law students! Even though UK legal training (6 years) is some of the most extensive there is in the commonlaw world which involves 2 years on-the-job experience. Meanwhile, UK law students are largely barred from working in those countries which export lawyers to the UK. It’s a very one way street. Reply Link michael simons 2 August 2009 at 00:05 I worked for various firms of solitors for over 30 years, starting in a small general practice and then sort training in civil litigation. Many of those contributing to this article seem to have lost sight of the fact that places in solicitors offices are not readily available or they need staff to do a highly qualified job. A very important piece of evidence has not been referred to namely circulars that were sent out by the Law Society questioning its members about their state of mind to being a solicitor in private practise. The last article I read revealed that over 90% would like a job in another industry. Many of them regretted having qualified as a solicitor. A recent televisiton program dealt with the difficulties newly admitted counsel were having in getting a tenancy. Those who did not get a tenancy were several hundred. There are simply far too many students who chose a career in law without making any enquiries or taking advice upon what specialised knowledge they will need to persuade solicitors to offer them a job. At fee earners meetings and privately I criticised my principal for employing staff who were low grade and who should never have been on his pay roll. I do give him credit for giving men and women from working clasws backgrounds the opportunity of pursuing a career in law or merely providing them with a job. But, when it became apparent that they were not suitable for his firm he accused me of not giving them a fair chance. Two of the junior staff simply disappeared and we did not hear from them again. There was a career for the young lad but he told me in private law was not for him. Another bad case was of a father pushing his son into a carear in law when he was totally and wholly unsuitable for that kind of work. I was given the task of taking him out to lunch whatever the cost and to ask that he does not ask for a reference or make contact with the firm. I elicited that his father was the MD of of a successful company and wanted an in house solicitor. the guy had a law degree. Eventually I persuaded the guy that his father had done him a dis-service and he should look for another career. He returned to his job as a manager in a telephone call centre. In another case he employed a female solicitor who had re-deployed to the midlands. After 3-4 months I asked my principal to review her position because I had formed the view she would never make the grade. Almost 6 years later, my principal arrived in my room with a very worried look on his face – he had just received a letter from another firm of solicitors with a claim in negligence for £l.5m arising out of a property transaction. She was asked to remain on garden leave and did not return. The way in which my principal corresponded with her left a lot to be desired. I had the inenviable task of taking over a large number of her files and the quality of her worked merited 10 marks out of a hundred. One District Judge gave me a tough time and in one particular case he apologized to my adversary, saying it was with regret he had to make a order against his client. It then became evident that in her careert with my principal, she never appeared before a district judge. I came across files were she had instructed counsel to appear on a county court summons for directions time after time again. Therewere other similar instances and I ultimately adopted the stance that he/she goes or I do. In the 32 years I conducted civil litigation, mostly at the behest of insurance companies. I had the misfortune to come across well over 100 legal practitioners who should have been in other employment and a few of them were cirsuit judges and district judges. Reply Link Anonymous 3 August 2009 at 17:31 Jack Vance, you make several good points. However I do not believe that in the US the route to law is any less fraught with obstacles than in the UK. Maybe ultimately obtaining a license after having completed study is less regulated / centralised (ie. you just do the bar exam and don’t need to have completed a training contract). However, it takes seven years and much expense – a 4 year undergrad degree, the LSAT exams, then a 3 year law degree, which is usually incredibly expensive. You start earning and income after *seven* years. In contrast, in the UK, you start earning an income after just four years – after 3 years doing your law degree and 1 year doing the LPC. I would think that law is just as hard to break into for low income students in the US. Reply Link Anonymous 3 August 2009 at 17:35 It’s not just difficult for those with “average A levels and noddy degrees from Noddy universities”. It might be difficult even for those with stellar A Levels and first class degrees from top universities. Like another poster said, personality, drive and people skills count! Intellect and technical ability is not the be-all and end-all. Reply Link Anonymous 4 August 2009 at 08:42 This may sound harsh but students that take the risk of taking on substantial debts to enter a saturated profession can only blame themselves. 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. Reply Link Brad Meyer 5 August 2009 at 21:55 this may then be a good time for those with current training and no paying job yet to apply their newly qualified legal skills into a socially positive context if anyone is interested in working on the Forensics of Legal Fraud, please get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org Reply Link Anonymous 6 August 2009 at 12:56 Mr “Reid”. I have showed enthusiasm and have completed lots of work experience. I even lecture at university part time and yet I am still unable to even have a whiff of pupillage. What more can I do? I have undertaken a multitude of jobs and am more than able to show that I have a variety of skills. The chance you talk of must be very very small indeed. Reply Link Anonymous 6 August 2009 at 15:21 I have just completed the LPC part-time, having done the GDL part-time before that, on top of my first degree. My university law careers dept has been constantly encouraging and supportive, but I feel strongly that the downside was not laid out in stark enough terms from the outset. The reality is that I’m 42, with a family, from a non-legal background and facing the worst recession for decades. Admittedly the last item was not foreseen when I started my law studies, but at no point did careers officers or tutors advise me to slow down or take another year to think about it before handing over more cheques. Four years on and with a debt like an albatross, I’m punch-drunk with rejection letters and (so far) continuing with my previous career. I thought I was under no illusions about the difficulties of qualifying when I started (three family members have qualified), I knew it would be very tough and my age was against me, but this road just seems to get steeper and steeper. My advice is to be wary – in this business having strong academics, bags of commitment and great transferable skills seems to be no substitute for 6 months’ paralegal experience. And good luck finding that without 6 month’s paralegal experience first. And good luck finding that without 6 month’s paralegal experience first. And good luck finding that without 6 month’s paralegal experience first. Etc. etc. Reply Link Anonymous 7 August 2009 at 14:50 Isn’t this simply the Law Society doing what the FSA insists on regarding warnings around investments? “The value of your investment may go up or down” That is to say, by investing £10k in the LPC, you may not get a training contract and hence a career in law at the end of it. Seems like sensible advice to me! Reply Link Anonymous 10 August 2009 at 16:10 I am one of those people who has a law degree and the LPC and absolutely no prospect of ever becoming a lawyer. I am in an insurmountable amount of debt in addition to being about as employable as a school leaver with the earning prospects of one. I’m nearly 26 and haven’t managed to start my life properly. I’m really angry about it. The sad thing about it is I would make a good lawyer too. I intend to campaign to have these debts written off. Thinking only professionalism equals success, I tried to get ahead by pursuing a career in law but have ended up so far behind. It’s not right. Why should I have to have the stigma of being a bankrupt attached to me if that is the only way to cancel the mountains of debt I have aquired? I have never been financially irresponsible or reckless in my life. Reply Link Samuel O 11 August 2009 at 00:43 This is only going to lead to more institutional discrimination in the legal profession. I pity the future generations. Reply Link Anonymous 11 August 2009 at 13:42 I am about to enter in to my final year of the LLB course at a mediocre university and believe students today are made fully aware that a 2:1 and the LPC are not enough to ensure becoming a solicitor. Since my first day at my University I have been made aware that it is what else you bring to the table that secures you your place, tons of work experience is not enough especially when not in the sectors of the law for which you are applying, it is continually re-inforced throughout the course that you must offer more than what is written on the degree certificate at the end of it all, it is all about personality and dedication. Those students who do not gain the necessary extras are those who are not dedicated enough. A student who really wants to suceed will do their research and should quite easily discover that it is a bad time to be entering into the law, with the economy the way it is every school leaver is looking for a career in which there will always be opportunities and the law offers this. There is no need to not allow those under thirty to do the GDL as this would indeed cancel out the opportunities for some of those people who are very intellectual and do indeed have more to bring to the table than some unaware and unenthusiastic student who scraped a 2:1 from a low standing university with no extra-curricular interest. On the whole the system does not need to change, if anything it ensures that the law is not easy to enter in to. Any student will inform you of this – me especially having friends who are studying for less intense courses such as Events Management and Disabilities Studies who all get to enjoy the freedom of university while i am confined to the library a lot more often than them. Any student with the commitment and will power to truly want to suceed will do and therefore there is no need to change anything. Reply Link Anonymous 12 August 2009 at 22:58 You cannot simply say abolish the GDL or law degree is simply the best. A “law degree” cannot be the same if someone has studied it at Oxford and another at Manchester metropolitan. What about those who have studied good subjects like history, politics and economics from a top 10 uni but have allways wanted to go into law. Are you seriously saying someone at an ex poly should come before these? Reply Link Anonymous 13 August 2009 at 11:47 Don’t study the law, irrespective of your academic record to date, if you can identify yourself as being one or more of the towns people in the film High Plains Drifter starring Clint Eastwood. The reviews of the film I have read are quite superficial and may even indicate that the reviewer has not watched the film. If you fully undestand the film then perhaps you are QC material? Reply Link City Trainee 24 August 2009 at 11:00 The whole recruitment system is flawed and needs to be overhauled. Law is tough and demanding and the recruitment and application system should be tough and demanding. The problem is too many people who are simply not good enough are allowed to progress too far down the process incurring substantial amounts of debt before realising they will never get a training contract, and too many people who really have very little interest in being lawyers (and are often not very good) are able to get training contracts because they went to the right schoold and mummy/daddy know the right people. The fact that LPC providers run themselves as businesses encouraging as many people to enrol on their expensive courses as possible does not help. I think the US system has a lot of merit to it in that it cuts the weak links off at a much earlier stage. Possible solution – you can’t do the LPC without a training contract. You can only apply for a training contract once you have graduated. How you fill up any year in the middle is up to the individual. At least this way, people don’t burn themselves with debt and may only lose one or two years as opposed to several if you go down the GDL/LPC/Paralegal/give up route. Reply Link Anonymous 26 August 2009 at 15:45 While I appreciate the comments that those who are intelligent enough to work in the legal profession are intelligent enough to work out there are tough times ahead, I think there is much to be said about illustrating the severity of the current situation (although whether this is the role of the Law Society I am not convinced). As someone who has just completed the LPC, have studied the GDL and done 3 years at uni and am yet to secure a training contract, I am in the (un)fortunate position of understanding the harsh realities of pursuing a legal career in these tough times. Having gained a 2.1 degree from a red brick uni, a commendation in my GDL, a distinction in my LPC, formal work experience from a magic circle and a regional firm, not to mention informal experience at a sole practitioner and even a barristers chambers to explore my interest in advocacy, I am consistently being taken to final interview and then missing out at the last hurdle. Brilliant feedback from law school careers advisors, Magic Circle firms and national firms alike does not decrease my sense of annoyance and anxiety as my debt increases daily by the interest I cannot earn enough in my temp job to pay off. I have informed both family and friends that if my training contract interviews this summer (to commence training contracts in Sept 2011) do not come to fruition I am going to have to swallow my pride (and my debt filled tears) and embark on an entirely different career if I am ever to have a hope of getting myself out of the dire financial straits I am currently in. And a word of caution for those thinking the situation will improve – talk of the economy picking up in the years to come resulting in an increase in available jobs needs to be taken with caution. Not only will the number of students applying for a “prestigious, well paid” career remain undoubtedly high regardless of warnings, you will also be competing with those already qualified for these jobs. And if you are competing against someone already qualified you are at a distinct disadvantage – not only does the firm know what they are getting qualification wise, qualified applicants are likely to have at least a couple of years of work experience, and better yet? Firms don’t have to fork out the £15k fees associated with taking a risk on someone yet to qualify from law school. Reply Link Anonymous 27 August 2009 at 13:36 To the chap who posted above about not getting a training contract. This illustrates the point that only those who have secured a training contract should be allowed to progress to studying the LPC. If one undertake the costs of the LPC without a training contract then that individual accepts that it is more likely than not that he/she will end up as employable as a school leaver. Reply Link Anonymous 28 August 2009 at 14:53 To the chap who wrote: “Why should I have to have the stigma of being a bankrupt attached to me if that is the only way to cancel the mountains of debt I have aquired? I have never been financially irresponsible or reckless in my life” You are financially irresponsible for completing the LPC without a training contract. If the stigma of bankruptcy is the only way you will learn to be financially responsible then it is probably the best way forward. At the end of the day, you knew the risks of completing the LPC without a training contract yet you still proceeded. Now you should accept the consequences of your short sighted and irresponsible beahaviour How could you ever be in a position to hold office as a solicitor and advise businesses when you can’t even judge your own irresponisble behaviour? Reply Link Kate 30 August 2009 at 04:46 So according to the article, there were 7000 LPC passers last year and 6000 training contracts available this year- on the face of it, those are not bad odds, (although those figures do not take account of past year LPC applicants who are still competing for a contract.) As someone who as yet has had no success in securing a training contract, I think many of us make the process harder for ourselves by all competing for the prestigious London firms. The question we must ask is- Do I want to be a lawyer? – and NOT- How much money do I want to make? (notwithstanding the pressing debt we’re all keen to pay off) In these times especially, being realistic about the ferocity of the competition out there and being open-minded about what smaller firms might have to offer us is key. I agree with everyone who has mentioned the importance of experience and tenacity. One thing I would say is the seeming impossibility of gaining paralegal work experience without previous paralegal work experience. It’s the same old ‘catch 22’ situation where serious creativity is needed. I would very much welcome the Scottish system where a student cannot take the LPC unless he/she has a training contract. There is a similar system for teachers and PGCEs. I think it’s also important for the ILEX route to get some publicity. It seems the only ones who might lose out here would be the law schools themselves. Reply Link Anonymous 2 September 2009 at 11:44 I’m an almost 4yr PQE Private Client solicitor. If I was starting out now, with the benefit of what I know now, would I go through the process of qualification again? No. I’m still in debt from the LPC. I *would* have paid this off in June-ish, but in January my boss turned round and told us that we were going to be working a 4 day week from the start of February. No discussion, no consultation. My mother paid off the remainder of my LPC loan for me at that point, but now I still owe her – and I have no idea when I will have the money to pay her. During this time, various annual bills have cropped up for the house I was encouraged to buy on a Northern Rock “Together” mortgage – I couldn’t afford those, but house insurance is one of those pesky little conditions of the mortgage (and the lease), and so my dad, who is a pensioner, has loaned me the money to pay that and various other bills. I am in debt up to my eyeballs – but bankruptcy would lose me my house and lead to instant strike off (well, it’d actually probably be at least a year before the SDT got round to it and then fleeced me for the costs, but you know where I’m coming from). I am, quite frankly, very badly paid. I am never going to get a job at a good firm paying a good salary, because I have a weird degree from a ‘mickey mouse university’ and poor A Level results (badly timed parental divorce). My law results, by the way, are great – but big firms don’t/can’t/ won’t see that and so I am stuck with small firms where the partners just seem to want to extract as much money in drawings in the shortest time possible, to the detriment of the staff and the firm’s development. I am, quite frankly, very close to throwing in the towel – but what else can I do? My ‘skills’ are so specialised, and the economic situation is just so bad, and I don’t want to leave ‘the provinces’ for the horror of London – there are very few to no good jobs here, and everything half decent has high application rates. I also feel as if I HAVE to stick with it, as I can’t afford to re-train to do anything else (which is upsetting, as I actually do now have a good idea of what I’d like to do). I would say to someone who was thinking of a law career – take a very long, very hard, very honest look at yourself and your situation – and then go off and train to be a plumber/electrician/painter & decorator – they’re much more fun, and you’ll probably be better paid! Reply Link KRUSTY THE KLOWN 3 September 2009 at 12:20 What is sad about the plight of applicants is that they are approaching a career in law as if they were entering a profession instead of a glorified sales career. A purported profession can only justify calling itself a profession if it sees itself as under a moral duty to perpeutuate itself through the deliberate advancement of new applicants regardless of background. This incarnation of “lawyers” is not a profession – the moral obligation has been cynically discarded, the equity ladder has been pulled up and there is no moral imperative to bring on the next generation. Market forces is given as the reason – greed is the real imperative. The traditional business model has not failed because it didn’t work but because it was not allowed to work because it cut too deeply into the margins of the fat cats who have sold the profession kite mark for a few extra bob. Solicitors cannot now expect any professional support network or any financial standing in their practices. All they can expect is to be worked to death for salaries way below what seven years of study should be paying and the ever present fear that they are ever more closely compared to paralegals paid a fraction of the price (but who charge clients for a professional status they do not have). The Legal Services Bill’s greatest justification for undermining the profession was the profession itself. It tried and failed to push the “dilution of quality” argument as its main defence but had its skirts pulled up to show that the majority of legal work is in fact done by unskilled, half trained clerks anyway. The fat cats response to this charge? Oh, let’s do away with the traditional salary system; let’s introduce a “eat what you kill” remuneration scheme where you get paid a basic and a commission if you exceed your ludicrously overestimated target. Lawyers are the worst employers in the market place: with the worst track record of compliance with employment law, the worst record of fairness in equality profiling, salary remuneration and employee support and you are more likely to want to shoot yourself or drink yourself to death in this profession than the guy that had to ride the bonnet of a land rover in Helmund province. How will any of this encourage the underprivileged to enter the profession? They’d be better of going down to Everest and signing up to sell windproof double glazing for a living. At least they’re honest about what to expect from the job. Reply Link Anonymous 4 September 2009 at 16:42 Reading the various posts on this topic all seem to suggest to me that the problem has no solution. Let’s consider the problem carefully. Essentially too many young people flock to the legal profession because of misguided ideas about their prospects and what the profession has to offer. This ultimately leads to market saturation which in turn leads to reduced opportunity, wage deflation and poor working conditions. Given that there does not seem to be any sign that demand from students is abating, the problem will only get worse. Reply Link Jack Black 13 September 2009 at 04:52 Who says A levels are are a great measure of intelligence? I was crap at A levels because I wasn’t good at writing 10 stupid essays with a blunt pencil in 3 hours. I got CCD.in 1991. I was written off as a dunce, and went to a crappy red brick university near London that didn’t one any doors for me. I left the UK in 1995. Yes, I was awful at A levels but then found out, over 10 yeas later, that I was rather good at the LSAT multiple choice logic exam which US law schools use to determine admissions. Nearly twenty years after I messed up my A levels I finished in the top 20% of my law school class in the US from a Top 20 school, was recruited by a respectable firm, and have passd two bar exams. A levels are just one way of measuring intelligence or aptitude. It’s like measuring whether everyone is a good athlete by having them run the 100 meters. “Sorry Cram, Ovett, and Coe, you are crap atheletes, perhaps you should pursue law!!???” Reply Link Gregory 5 November 2009 at 13:39 The legal profession is as elitist as it is intellectually and financially demanding. Some professions will always be elitist, because the cost of training a solicitor or barrister will for many be prohibitive. It is impossible as a matter of simplest economics for legal education to ever be accessible to everyone in a capitalist country. That is because: a) the solicitors and professionals who train lawyers will always want to receive salaries above the average salary for the rest of the society; so b) if suddenly everyone in the society got richer and could afford an LPC/BVC at their current prices, law schools would raise the price of legal education to the point where just the right number of people to satisfy the market’s demand for solicitors/barristers would be able to afford a legal education. This relationship is nothing novelt and it is a consequence of capitalism. Truth be told, capitalism inherently creates elites – the free market itself creates elites. However, note that before we start criticising the free market for making the legal profession elitist, the more the government regulates the market, the further away we move from a free market economy. That said, in pure communism, the legal profession would be very accessible, but would offer salaries not exceeding those of factory workers. So, let’s be reasonable in our criticisms. Jumping to conclusions is not the right behaviour for a lawyer! Reply Link Anonymous 5 November 2009 at 17:06 Gregory, I would agree with what you say in principle. Given that law is so incredibly oversubscribed then it is the case that the price of the LPC is far too low as the supply is far exceeding the demand. The LPC should be a minimum of 20,000 with a 1,000 added every year until demand roughly equals the supply. Reply Link jb maphosa 22 February 2010 at 09:05 it is scandalous for the Gvt to leave the provision of a Tc to private law firms who may chose to sacrifice merit for privilege in their intake. It is also scandalous to let providers of the LPC to churn out 000s of graduates without any prospect of securing a TC. Its a profit driven exploitative business. LPC providers like the BPP are ripping off naive students. The gvt shud mandate all LPC and BVC course providers with securing a TC for every student whose £10,000 they pocket. Some, e.g BPP must use part of that £10.000 to set up Legal Clinics to provide TC to their students whilst providing free legal services to communities where the colleges are situated. In S. Africa every LPC student takes a TC at a Legal Clinic run by the Uni that provides the LPC, so that every student who pays their hard earned LPC fee is guaranteed to become an Attorney/Solicitor on graduation. We are let left vulnerable to the wolves such as the BPP by a Gvt staffed with egg-heads whose main preoccupation is to claim absurd MP’s expenses. Fed-up LLB graduate, Northampton. Reply Link Rose 2 August 2010 at 06:25 It seems that the SRA will not admit person to the roll of the solicitors if they have an LPC and wish to qualify as a solicitor using thier work experience through ILEX. So you can pay your money to be a FILEX, get your work experience and then be rejected to the roll, because the SRA would like the LPC graduates to continue in the race for a TC with an infinity finishing line for some, regardless of their academic excellence. Reply Link Anonymous 2 August 2010 at 13:34 There are a lot of law students whining about not being able to secure a TC. It’s high risk but students know that before they pay for the courses. It’s the responsibility of the student to determine whether he or she wants to take the risk. If I had to decide whether to self fund the LPC today then, of course, I wouldn’t do it. It’s far too risky. Why would I self fund a course which will more than likely lead to a low paid paralegal job at best? However every student has to decide for him/herself. If one takes a risk then don’t complain if that risk is realised. Stop whining and take responsibility for your own risk taking!! Reply Link CE Shepherd 10 August 2010 at 06:50 The problem is the Training Contract. It should be abolished. If a person is good enough to get a degree and pass LPC then they should be allowed to set up their oewn business and practice law. The cost of LPC eliminates less wealthy students from the legal profession, the ridiculous bias of selection for Training Contracts then eliminates people from working class backgrounds from the profession. The result? A profession that continues to be the same people from the same elite backgrounds ad inifinitum. Let legal services be a career open to anyone who is competent and let them have to compete in the same way that other service providers have to. Reply Link Anonymous 10 August 2010 at 10:35 To C E Shepherd You miss the point. The heart of the problem is that there are too many students chasing too few jobs. The solution is not to increase the number of people working in law but to stop people taking silly risks and paying for the LPC themselves. Increasing the number of people working in the business does not solve the issue of no jobs. What’s the point of encouraging people to enter an industry where there is no demand? By the way the cost of the LPC does not deter the best candidates because the best candidates are sponsored. If you are not sponsored then you shouldn’t be doing the LPC because your applications for a training contract have been rejected. This problem has been created by desperate student self funding the LPC. Solving self funding of the LPC would ensure that supply roughly equals demand. Problem solved. In the teaching and medical profession they only take the numbers they need and that’s why doctors are not sat around twiddling their thumbs. Reply Link f lome 11 October 2010 at 03:30 LPC and CPE (GDL) become invalid after 7 years. So if you don’t get a TC in this time your are out…..this is not well known and not publicised by the Law Society or ILEX. I know I got caught. Reply Link Anonymous 11 October 2010 at 15:33 To the above post, there is nothing you can do to change supply demand fundamentals. The bottom line is there are too many students which means regardless of how hard they all try many of them must fail. That’s life. As time goes by it will get even harder because every year another load of students are pumped out of the College of Law factory. Reply Link Jeremy Peters 11 October 2010 at 23:21 Re: Anonymous in response to C E Shepherd I agree that the main problem is one of over-supply. However, I would question your assertion that the ‘best candidates get sponsorship’. From my own observations and those I know in the profession those from less affluent backgrounds are far less likely to get sponsorship. Also, (and this is not exclusive to law) the enormous competition for training means that those whose families can subsidize unpaid internships and extra-currics stand a much greater chance of gaining said sponsorship. Yes, large numbers of students will be rejected, but I suspect that the proportion of less affluent students in that category who actually had the ability to make very able lawyers is growing. There is also the matter of institutions being less than candid about the chances of these students. I’m sure this will trigger scoffing, but even those with the requisite intelligence from less affluent backgrounds sometimes do not have the experience and understanding to make a detailed assessment of their chances. I think people underestimate the power of growing up in certain social/economic conditions and how this impacts on the potential candidate. Reply Link Anonymous 12 October 2010 at 11:56 Jeremy Peters. Very true. However that is just a fact of life. People from poorer backgrounds do not have access to important information concerning careers. This will not change and does not detract from the point that students need to be saved from themselves. The problem is going to be compounded by increases in tuition fees. The only real benefit to the increase in tution fees is that hopefully it will prompt students to stop and think!!! Reply Link Anonymous 12 October 2010 at 12:56 CE Shepherd – you seem to be suggesting that people who pass the LPC should be admitted to the Roll and allowed to set up shop as Solicitors on their own, without the need for a Training Contract or any experience of practising law. Your idea is unworkable for a number of reasons, as others have pointed out. In addition I do not beleive that any PI insurer would seriously contemplate offering insurance in these circumstances. Reply Link Name Email Cancel reply Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.