Training review: on wrong track?

When the great training report finally arrives it may not answer the big questions

The long-awaited Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) was intended for publication in December. The SRA then pushed this back to 16 January. Just five days before that the regulator announced another delay, saying the team behind the review needed more time “finalising” it.

By way of explanation, the regulator said in a statement: “Given the weight of evidence and in consideration of the importance and complexity of the review, the commissioning regulators have agreed to allow the LETR research team more time to finalise the report. A date for publication will be issued shortly.”

Last week, when contacted by The Lawyer, the regulator gave little away about the hotly anticipated publication date.

“It hopefully shouldn’t be too long now,” a spokesman said.

So who better to ask than a member of the LETR steering panel? Keele University law professor Fiona Cownie admits she has “absolutely no idea” and that furthermore she doesn’t know anybody who does.

“I imagine the only people who know are the review team,” she says.

In the meantime, academics and lawyers alike have been speculating about how lawyers may be educated from now on.

Becky Huxley-Binns, learning and teaching co-ordinator, and reader in legal education at Nottingham Law School at Nottingham Trent University, says: “The law degree is a fabulous qualification in its own right and students are well-placed for careers in myriad professions. My problem is with the mandated foundation subjects – they simply do not represent what is best about law, and the common law in particular.”

Melissa Hardee, education consultant and former CMS Cameron McKenna partner and LPC tutor, adds: “The question is – why are so many graduates coming through with unrealistic career expectations? The oversupply needs to be addressed, and this has to do with students choosing or being induced to take degrees or courses without being properly informed about career prospects.”

Now that would be a review.