What should the Society be doing in relation to training in order to best enable members to develop in an increasingly competitive market?

Solicitors are operating in an increasingly competitive market. Whether the competition is perceived to be unregulated providers of legal advice, Cilex, the Big Four accountancy firms or simply other solicitors, it is a very real issue for all of our members.

The question which the legal education and professional standards workstream is seeking to answer is: what should the Law Society be doing in relation to training and development to best enable our members to develop their careers and compete with other providers?

Below we have set out a few options based on the activities of other professional bodies. We want to know whether you think these are activities which the Society should further develop:

A more extensive range of specialist accreditation to provide career development and help distinguish a solicitor in relation to competitors: when the Royal Pharmaceutical Society developed its Faculty, it was responding to a request from members for a flexible and consistent method of professional recognition and to provide evidence of capability.

Do solicitors feel a need for a similar framework of post-qualification recognition?

Good quality courses and training, webinars and eLearning: the market for CPD training is crowded. Would members find it helpful for the Law Society to provide a more extensive range of high-quality training and learning resources? The Royal College of GPs accredits CPD providers in order to raise standards and assure its members of the quality of training being provided. Would members welcome the Law Society performing a similar role?

Practical advice: the Law Society already provides a range of services from the Practice Advice Service helpline to the Law Society Consulting Service. Some professional bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) provide an extensive range of tools and services – are there areas where members would like more advice; for example, ethical scenarios, case studies or decision-making frameworks?

Status of chartered practice: some professional bodies such as the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) offer firms the opportunity to become a chartered practice if they meet certain requirements, for example in relation to good management and CPD. Would there by an appetite from member firms for such a title?

As we have highlighted, the Law Society already provides some of these services to our members, but we would really welcome your feedback on what else we could do, what we could do more (or less) of, and what we could do better. 

Please email your views to lawsociety2020@lawsociety.org.uk or join us for the next legal education and professional standards TwitterHour between 3-4pm on 28 May.

Jenny Crewe is strategic policy manager at the Law Society