The Trainee Solicitors' Group (TSG) is accusing the Law Society of reneging on a promise not to profit from students and instead using their surpluses to help bail out the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS).
The TSG claims the Society receives nearly £1.5m a year from students on the Legal Practice Course. Each student pays £205 to the Society before starting the course.
Part of the sum is used to monitor training contracts, but the TSG believes there must be a large surplus which goes into society funds for the benefit of qualified solicitors.
According to the TSG, the Law Society assured it earlier this year that its funds would be ring-fenced for use on education and training, but action has been delayed since the Society allocated £11m to cure the OSS backlog.
“We were promised ring-fencing to ensure the money was used for what it should be used for,” says TSG observer on council Charles Fraser. “I appreciate that the OSS is a very important part of our whole profession, but I can't see why ring-fencing can't be put in place now.”
TSG chair Susannah Haan says: “The money we pay should go towards covering the costs of being students.
“If the Law Society wants to make a profit it should make it elsewhere. We've been told money is going to be ring-fenced and now we just want to know when.”
The Law Society admits the money is not ring-fenced but refuses to comment further.