Legal education review – will it affect you? A look at the career paths of three future lawyers

Legal education review – will it affect you? A look at the career paths of three future lawyers

Three school children completed their GCSEs in 2000.

Andrew stayed on at school and finished his A levels in Economics, English and History in 2002. He did well and his parents were delighted. He went to a redbrick university to read law and graduated in 2005 with an upper second class degree with honours. Having already secured a training contract in his undergraduate second year, he completed his LPC in 2006, then his training contract and was admitted as a solicitor in 2008.

His classmate, Julia, left school after her GCSEs and was delighted to get a job as a trainee receptionist in a law firm. She went to secretarial college in the evenings and was so hard working and attentive she was promoted to receptionist in 2001, and was made a junior legal assistant in 2002. She started her ILEX level 3 qualifications part-time in 2002 and, having done very well, started the level 6 qualifications in 2005 and finished in 2008. She became a Fellow of ILEX in 2010 and completed the LPC part time and was admitted as a solicitor in 2012.

Another classmate of Julia and Andrew, Stephen, was very bright but not as engaged as he should or could have been at school. He left after his GCSEs and got a job doing general clerical work in an insurance firm. Despite his intelligence, he is often overlooked for promotion because other candidates have higher qualifications than him. He is often bored because the work isn't very challenging. He does unregulated legal work for the minimum wage.

That's a picture of reality. It is one picture of a reality that can and does exist today.

Last week, the BSB, the SRA and IPS revealed their responses to the Legal Education Training Review. This blog will crystal ball gaze on the basis of some of the potential applications of the SRA response. In a nutshell, that is to move legal services training and education towards a competence framework. It will be more subtle than this, but in essence it will consist of a list of what someone should know and be able to do at the point of qualification (in this case as a solicitor). How the person reaches that outcome will not be prescribed. The “time served” (undergraduate or GDL plus LPC for one year full time or two part time,

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About the author:
Becky Huxley-Binns has been teaching law for 20 years, half of them at Nottingham Trent University. She is Professor of Legal Education and widely published in Criminal Law, English Legal System and legal education. She is Co-Director of the NLS Centre for Legal Education. She convenes the National Student Law  Forum and in that role is an Academic Associate of the Higher Education Academy (2012). Very experienced at teaching all levels of legal education from GCSE to Doctorate level, Becky has also been a senior examiner for A level law, Principal Examiner for Criminal Law for CILEX and is an experienced external examiner to University Law Schools. Becky is a National Teaching Fellow, Chair of the Association of Law Teachers and was Law Teacher of the Year 2010.