As a sole practitioner, I come across many able students who would make great solicitors but who cannot find a seat for their training contracts. I can offer some experience for which credit can sometimes be given towards the two years needed, but I know that many do not go on to qualify because of the lack of opportunities.
Would it not be a good idea to set up a bank of people like myself with specialist disciplines through a central agency (the Law Society?), through which trainees could be allocated for their different seats? There is quite a bit of administration involved in the whole training contract experience, but I would have thought a simple database could match firms with students whom I am sure would be flexible and prepared to travel to get the all-important qualification.
There might be a financial opportunity also: fees for signing up and so on. The training opportunities in small firms would be excellent because of the need to get involved in so many aspects of practice, including marketing and client care. If such a scheme exists, I have not heard of it and nor have the students who work with me.
Gordon Turner, Gordon Turner Employment Lawyers, London EC2