The Law Society has hit back at claims that the current system of legal education and training is unfit for purpose. In a critical response to a discussion paper published by the cross-professional Legal Education and Training Review (LETR), the Society says it is ‘not aware of clear evidence that the current system is broken’.
The LETR’s paper was published in August in the run-up to a final report which is likely to call for reforms of the training of solicitors, legal executives and barristers. It pointed to what it called ‘fundamental gaps’ in the teaching of client relations/communication skills, ethical awareness and organisational skills, among others.
However, the Society’s response, released last week, attacks the paper for ignoring context, saying it ‘lacks rigour and is therefore unhelpful’. While improvements ‘can and should be made to the current legal education and training model’ most areas of the system have flexibility for innovation ‘without requiring a radical overhaul of the system as a whole’.
It accuses the LETR’s paper of removing references to continuing professional development and an ‘unfortunate’ omission of several topics that triggered ‘full and frank discussions’ at an LETR symposium in June. These include work-based learning and the training contract.
The Society is also ‘disappointed’ at what it calls the paper’s failure to address equality, diversity and social mobility. The LETR, set up by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Bar Standards Board and the Institute of Legal Executives Professional Standards, is due to consider its final report next month.