Legal profession’s elitism gap gets wider

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  • What the flock of seagulls!!!

    How can one possibly change the complexion of a profession without flooding it with mediocre candidates or otherwise letting people in by the colour of their teacosies alone?

    The current complexion more likely reflects the fact that it is often middle class parents who encourage their children to embrace conceptual courses as opposed to engineering/trade type courses. The bar favours the wealthy because it is virtually impossible to make a living out of the "cab rank" model for some years after pupillage.

    To change the complexion would involve opening up the bar to direct access or nationalising the bar!!! This is the problem. People think that the legal profession is a branch of the NHS or of government - it isn't though is it? The legal profession is a trading business sector and should be no more subject to this sort of PC horsepoop than the oil industry or the aircraft industry. The solicitors profession cannot possibly be said to be elitist given the breadth and diversity of firms and associates - but if it is, so what! As one whose family knows more about historical persecution & elitism than many I would say that the best person for the job should mean that - the best person whether they be black, white, jew, asian or mixed race not the one who lets some token appointee wangle an OBE or knighthood by bullying everyone into thinking they're KKK members for not taking a 3rd class honours asian candidate over a 1st class white boy from Staines - ahh ite!!!

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  • Putting down the Universities!

    It is disappointing to hear the Chairman of the Bar using phrases such as "Top Universities" and "Lesser Universities" (see The Lawyer interview about the inclusion of class as a monitoring issue, where he states "A lot of law firms only look at graduates from the top universities. They need to look for talented candidates who come through lesser universities".) We need to stop this labelling of students who have the same class of degree as being from Top or Lesser Universities. The law firms I have worked with do not use the "University attended" as a criteria for selection because that is regarded as indirectly discriminatory. I came from a working class background where I just did not have the opportunities to improve my CV in the way that is expected today. The legal profession is extremely daunting to those without connections!

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  • Useless Research

    Pity intelligent people should waste their time on this sort of nonsense. Political correctness gone totally bonkers.

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  • Just quite funny really

    "Chairman of BPP Law School". I suppose my getting four A's at A level from an average state school and then getting in to Cambridge where I received a 2.i makes me exactly as academically able as someone who got 3 E's at A level, went to a local ex-polytechnic and got a 2.i there.

    I am sure that's exactly what law firms think when they recruit, because doesn't that make perfect sense when you want to build a decent practice.

    There's a big different between saying we should encourage people from less affluent backgrounds to practice Law, and all universities are exactly the same academically. If your post is your actual opinion, then that is really, really quite funny.

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  • Well done Sherlock!

    Did we honestly need time and money being spent on 'research' that only 'identifies' what we already know?! If the legal profession wishes to put a stop on its elistism then perhaps they should start recruiting individuals who attended universities other than Oxford or Cambridge. According to the recent RAE report, certain others out-performed these two universities in research.

    I know that there are a couple of chambers who have only recruited Oxbridge candidates- you can see by the tenants on the door that NONE of them went to universities other than Oxford or Cambridge. This is despicable and the Bar Council should regulate these unreasonably elistist sets. They are clearly discriminating against individuals who (I am sure), apply to them from other universities. And NO, I'm not advocating that chambers should start letting in people with third class degrees from polytechnics- but am asking them to be fair and equitable in their selection of a great many talented candidates who already exist and who perhaps have been denied a place.

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  • Where degrees are equal, A-level grades should count: which may mean that new universities are disadvantaged - as they have lower admittance standards. However the elitism is most pronounced when firms consistently take in graduates from "renowned" universities with a degree in the low 2:1 or a 2:2s in consistent preference to polytechnic graduates with distinctions of firsts - but whose A-levels do not reach the required threshold. Clearly the 2:2 should balance the high A-levels in the same way the 1st counterbalances the low A-levels and both candidates should be equal.

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  • I'm a former barrister and currently have higher court rights. My book (The Case is Busted) is primarily aimed at the US market and focuses on this very topic. Feedback thus far appears to suggest that, though set in The Inns of Court of the 1980's, I've simply confirmed what the Americans have always suspected, namely that (then, as now) it's class, money, and (some times) being a good looking female that will guarantee success as an English barrister.

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  • I am an American. I have visited the mother country (Britain) and I must say that American classism mirrors British classism. The only differences being 5,000 miles and an accent.

    Here in the US, if you're poor or disadvantaged, you don't get the opportunity to go to law school at all, period. Poverty is the sole reason why I never got to be a lawyer, not for lack of ability or talent. Poverty and classism: the ones who get their choice of jobs and law firms are those who went to Ivy League schools like Harvard or Yale (or those who could afford to study abroad at Oxford or Cambridge).

    Had I not had the miserable misfortune to have come from the bottom rung, the "underclass", I would be a well-known international human rights lawyer today — another Gareth Pierce.

    But I guess that's why the deck is stacked from the get-go against the poorest and most underprivileged citizens in Britain and in the US: if those of us who are poor and from the bottom actually got a real chance in life, we'd challenge the untenable and unsustainable status quo of unearned privilege.

    So I have had to content myself with being a struggling non-fiction social justice author instead.

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  • The most disappointing fact is that the recruiters expect 2:1 from a Law graduate as well as an English graduate. It is much more difficult to study the first one, is it not? I know that people without the legal background have to take the GDL but what is the problem if you already know that you have a training contract waiting for you and that someone else is paying for everything? No stress, no application effort during your studies, all what you can dream about.
    I know that every faculty can be hard but when you study history, you learn and pass the knowledge but when you study law, you learn, analyse, link and apply so not just pass what you read.

    Can somebody please explain me what is the point of investing in an undergraduate law degree? If you are not sure what is the right thing to study, DO NOT STUDY LAW! Try to study English, history, politics and then apply because all what counts are the marks.
    Example? My friend had a bad accident and she graduated with 2:2 what was good when taking into consideration what she had to go through. Some city firms which she contacted stated that they do not take the mitigating circumstances into account (we should mention discrimination at this point) and some were happy to receive an application. All her applications have been rejected so she decided to contact one of the recruiters who said in the email that all her experience has been taken into account. Well, during the conversation it came out that the recruiter read her application for the first time. Why? They put it on the side as soon as they saw that she had 2:2 and not 2:1.

    OK, the next example. As far as I am concerned, the employer should not ask for your nationality, is that correct? Can somebody please explain me why 99% of the applications include this question?
    My favourite one is the last part so called the “equal opportunities…”. They ask you about your nationality but state that it is only for the statistical reasons and that you do not need to provide such details. Nice and fair of them? No because on the first page the same question has been marked with an asterisk (*) so they already know where you are from.

    Many intelligent students will never get an opportunity to do LPC because they did not get 2:1 degree. I know many people who have obtained that minimum but are not able to say much as they do not remember. They studied before the exam to memorise and not to be able to apply in the future. The students do not have a right to ask for the feedback because as the firms say, they are not able to provide any feedback due to the large number of the applications. How can the student improve anything without knowing what he is doing wrong? How can a student make sure that he has not been discriminated?
    It is bizarre that people who should make sure that the law is enforced commit serious crimes on daily basis. Why? They do not only reject an application, they destroy hopes and wishes. Well, at the end of the day we have all been “labelled” so you can pay more and study in Oxford if you want to secure a training contract or just study something different, especially if you have always dreamed about the legal career.
    If you are brave enough, study law for 3 years and if you do not have 2:1, you can always become a cleaner what is not the worst option, when taking into consideration the fact, that in order to get a job, you have to come and prove how well you can really work and nobody will care about 2 hours exam.

    If after reading this you still want to become a lawyer, congratulations as you are the perfect candidate, you are ready for a very painful race. If you are already studying, good luck and remember one thing, you are the one who has to always believe in yourself, not the recruiters!

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