Nigel Savage, chief executive of the College of Law, is assembling a group of law firms and LPC providers in an all-out assault on undergraduate legal education.
The group is planning to put pressure on the regulators – the Law Society and the Bar Council – to bring about changes in law degrees.
Savage says: “The Law Society says there isn't a problem with undergraduate legal education. But ask the Law Society how many qualifying law degrees there are and they don't know. And if they don't know that, they aren't even monitoring it, let alone regulating it.”
The move follows the remarks Savage made at the Law Society conference on 5 November calling for changes in the law degree. Since the conference, Savage claims to have persuaded a series of LPC providers and law firms to join his pressure group. He says: “There's sufficient evidence from consumers – the employers – that as a matter of urgency we should address this issue.”
Melissa Hardee, training partner at CMS Cameron McKenna, says: “The Bar Council, the Law Society, the profession, the LPC providers and enlightened academics are all recognising the deficiencies coming out of the undergraduate stage.”
The Law Society has indicated strong interest in the campaign. The Law Society's director of training Roger Smith says: “There has been a loosening in the academic world which needs to be tightened up a bit, and the professions have a part to play. I would have thought that those involved in educational institutions would be interested to hear the voice of the ultimate consumer.”
However, Allen & Overy recruitment partner Alison Beardsley says: “A law degree is there to instil a passion for the subject rather than train people to sit and do M&A transactions.”