Evidence of ‘fundamental gaps’ in lawyers’ skills suggests that the current education system is not fit for purpose, according to a discussion paper published as part of the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR).

The 50-page paper, published this week, said that changes to the current system of legal education and training are likely to be required to ensure that legal professionals possess the skills necessary to prosper in the future legal services market.

It added: ‘There are gaps in core knowledge and commercial skills. More fundamental gaps have been highlighted as regards client relations/communication skills, ethical awareness and organisational skills. If this is correct, it is difficult to see that the system as a whole is fit for purpose.’

The LETR, set up last year by the SRA, the Bar Standards Board and ILEX Professional Standards, is due to report in December. The paper said evidence gathered so far indicates there is too great a reliance on initial training to guarantee ongoing competence and quality. It suggests new business models will ‘disrupt some of the traditionally distinctive ways of working associated with particular titles’, and that individuals will have to show a willingness to develop new skills.

The discussion paper is now available.