Time to face the music

I read Tony Holland's article "The Law Society must face its responsibilities" (Viewpoint, The Lawyer, 19 November) with great interest.

While I was relieved to find that there was someone in the higher echelons of the legal profession who expressed concern about the plight of the many hundreds of unsuccessful candidates, I found that his suggestions fell rather short of a solution to the problem.

At the very least, I share his view that the Law Society ought to do something about the problem instead of washing its hands of it.

At least five of my acquaintances from the 1994/95 LPC course at The College of Law in Guildford have not secured training contracts and have somewhat fallen by the wayside. In fact, you only needed to look at the back pages of The Lawyer to find photographs of desperate students.

Most galling of all is to read about promising schemes, such as that outlined in The Gazette (13 November) for "judicial assistants" to provide help for the High Court and The Court of Appeal to clear a backlog of cases, only to find that candidates will be chosen from trainees or recently-qualified solicitors and barristers in the last stage of pupillage. How disgraceful it is to have a bottleneck of people on the lower rungs (Holland's so-called "bulge") and delays in access to justice at the other end.

Ideas such as this should be implemented faster than it takes a Law Society working party to deliberate and come forward with proposals. I hope that you will agree with me and look forward to your views on this matter.

Jean-Marc Lamontagne Defriez,