A degree to disagree

I read the article regarding the difficulties UK-qualified lawyers had qualifying in New York state when they did not have a law degree (The Lawyer, 16 September).

I would like to draw your attention to a similar problem I have encountered with the Law Society here. I have dual French and English nationality, but went to school and university in France. I have a business law degree and a post-graduation qualification called a DESS (standard qualification for in-house lawyers) in international business law.

Last January I moved to London, and made enquiries about qualifying as a solicitor. I was surprised in these times of European integration to find out that, in the eyes of the Law Society, all I had was the equivalent of a non-law degree. I find it a bit rude that after five years of reading law I have to do a further two years at school to become a solicitor.

French-qualified lawyers can qualify in England by passing a special exam. To qualify as an avocat in France, you need a law degree (four years), to attend a professional school for a year and to do two years' training. During these seven years, there is no obligation to do English law, and many avocats have not done so.

As such, I think EU law students should have their law degrees recognised in all member states and be able to take professional exams in England without having to do the CPE.

Sylvain Pignet

London NW11.