Law Society considers training contract shake-up

The Law Society’s council has given the green light to a plan that could spell the end of the two-year training contract period for trainees solicitors.

At the council’s quarterly meeting, convened last week, a draft statement on the long-running Training Framework Review, begun in 2001, was approved, which aims to bring flexibility into the qualification process.

One of the recommendations passed was to explore “new and innovative routes to qualification” encompassing changes to higher education, to the range of new entrants to the profession as well as diversity of legal practice.

For example, if a person had spent time working as a legal executive, his or her experience could contribute towards the overall training period.

However at the same meeting, council members were also presented with a summary of the 121 responses to the last consultation on the framework, revealing a split between a number of interested parties.

Although all respondents recognised the need for change, the majority of LPC providers and law firms preferred to keep the current LPC and training period in place.

Whereas representative bodies such as the Trainee Solicitors Group and the Black Solicitors Network were in favour of radical change based on concerns over the expense of qualifying and barriers to entry into the profession.