Hundreds of LPC graduates are still struggling to find training positions, latest figures from the Solicitors Regulation Authority show.
A total of 5,514 trainees were registered in 2014. However, 6,171 students completed their LPC course in the 2012/2013 academic year.
The Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division said the difference was ‘very discouraging’. Chair Max Harris (pictured) said the true number would be greater as graduates from previous years still seeking training positions need to be taken into account.
Harris called for institutions to provide students with better statistical data on their prospects before starting their LPC. Figures should show the number of people who start the LPC without a training contract guaranteed at the end, and the number of those who go on to obtain a training contract within six months of completing the LPC, he said.
Last year’s trainee figure is on a par with 2013, when 5,512 trainees were taken on.
Harris said the JLD wanted to see an increase in the number of training positions from July 2014-June 2015 for the ‘right’ reasons, such as law firms growing, and renewed focus on the benefits trainees can offer firms.
In reality, ‘if we see an increase, we would fear that it is because firms are starting to pay below the SRA’s former minimum wage, which causes severe problems for social mobility’, he said.
The minimum salary of £18,590 per year for training contracts based in central London and £16,650 for those outside the capital was abolished last year.
The SRA removed the need for training contracts to be registered from 1 July 2014, after which trainees taken on by a firm would be deemed in a ‘period of recognised training’.