The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has added the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice (OxILP) as an external assessor on its controversial work-based learning pilot.
OxILP has teamed up with LawNet, the national network of small to mid-size law firms, and together they will put 11 aspiring solicitors through a two-year training pilot. Under this new scheme OxILP will help the trainees to produce a training portfolio and will review their progress under SRA outcomes and provide a final assessment. Meanwhile, LawNet will operate the training programme and will provide bespoke training sessions.
OxILP director Julie Brannan told Lawyer2B.com: This scheme is designed to help smaller firms that may not have all the necessary resources to provide adequate in-house training.
In September the SRA unveiled long-awaited plans regarding its work-based learning pilot under which two separate models are being tested. The first, which has already generated some controversy, enables paralegals to train as solicitors while working their current roles. The paralegals will take responsibility for their own training and development and will be assessed externally by Nottingham Law School.
The second model, will work similarly to the training contract and trainees will be assessed internally, but qualification will no longer be automatic. The firms involved in this part of the pilot include Beachcroft, Freethcartwright, Jones Day and Linklaters.
The OxILP/LawNet scheme is a hybrid of the two original models revealed by the SRA though the LawNet candidates are employed as trainee solicitors and not paralegals. All three pilots will come to an end in September 2010.
The 11 trainee solicitors participating in the OxILP/LawNet pilot are employed by law firms Parrot & Coales (Aylesbury), IBB (Uxbridge), Aldridge Brownlee Solicitors (Bournemouth) and Lamb Brookes (Basingstoke).