Rely on the most comprehensive, up-to-date legal content designed and curated by lawyers for lawyers
Work faster and smarter to improve your drafting productivity without increasing risk
Accelerate the creation and use of high quality and trusted legal documents and forms
Streamline how you manage your legal business with proven tools and processes
Manage risk and compliance in your organisation to reduce your risk profile
Stay up to date and informed with insights from our trusted experts, news and information sources
Access the best content in the industry, effortlessly — confident that your news is trustworthy and up to date.
Find up-to-date guidance on points of law and then easily pull up sources to support your advice with Lexis PSL
Check out our straightforward definitions of common legal terms.
Our trusted tax intelligence solutions, highly-regarded exam training and education materials help guide and tutor Tax professionals
Access our unrivalled global news content, business information and analytics solutions
Insurance, risk and compliance intelligence using big data, proprietary linking and advanced analytics.
A leading provider of software platforms for professional services firms
In-depth analysis, commentary and practical information to help you protect your business
LexisNexis Blogs shed light on topics affecting the legal profession and the issues you're facing
Legal professionals trust us to help navigate change. Find out how we help ensure they exceed expectations
Lex Chat is a LexisNexis current affairs podcast sharing insights on topics for the legal profession
Discuss the latest legal developments, ask questions, and share best practice with other LexisPSL subscribers
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, the training contract for two years...) is, it is proposed, to be abolished. It won't matter how people qualify, which pathway, or how long it takes; if they are shown to be competent in the knowledge, skills and attributes required they are entitled to be called “solicitor”.
So, imagine the future Andrew, completing his GCSEs and EBaccs in 2020. He will, as above, proceed to A levels in 2022 and then his law degree. His degree, post LETR, will assess his legal knowledge, skills and attributes under the new framework. However, his degree will look very similar to the LLB on offer in 2002; jurisprudence will still be compulsory, as will a final year dissertation. However, he will have to make up a skills deficit because, unlike some universities that will blend the day one outcome skills into the knowledge requirements (in a two year degree), his university – which has an excellent global reputation nonetheless – does not. He will therefore be delighted to take up a place on an intensive, digital, international, simulated law module for a few months after graduation which will enable him to prepare for the period of supervised practice. He will be admitted as a solicitor in 2026.
The future Julia will also do GCSEs and EBaccs in 2020 and will also get a job as an assistant receptionist, in a firm which offers legal advice, as well as other professional services. At the moment, we call that an ABS (but for how long can it possibly be called an alternative business structure, rather than the norm?). Her human resources and training manager will appraise Julia and will encourage her to take CILEX levels 3 and 6. Supported by her employers and regularly monitored in her achievement of the (work based learned) outcomes for legal practice, she will have all but a few of her required outcomes to be a solicitor within six years. She will need a few more though, and her local university will offer her a place in their programme of legal services outcomes training, which they used to call the LPC. She will get day release from work and will study conveyancing and professional ethics on a Friday morning (in a class consisting of trainee solicitors and trainee licensed conveyancers) and advocacy on a Friday afternoon alongside the budding barristers. She will be admitted as a solicitor in 2026.
The future Stephen will also get work as a clerical assistant in an insurance firm, but he will also pick up additional credit studying online, one MOOC after another. When he tells his boss how much he enjoys this during his annual appraisal, he will be encouraged (and the firm will pay) for him to take one of the many online law courses available on the internet. It will take seven years for him to get all the “knowledge” required for the day one outcomes to be a solicitor. He knows, though, he will need to pass assessments in “skills” and “attributes” too, which rely on real life or simulated legal practice. So he will volunteer at law centres and charities; he will enrol on his local university's pro bono clinic rota; he will be delighted when he lands a brief online internship with an online law firm and will do work for them at the weekends for several months; he will even use some of his annual leave to do some legal work for one of the insurance company's clients. His will be a mixed portfolio, but he will be able, over 20 years, to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes to be admitted as a solicitor. Yes, it will take time and he will be in his mid-30s by the time he qualifies, but bear in mind that he and his partner will become adoptive parents in 2032 and will have to take time away from work to raise their daughter.
I know this isn't reality yet, but it could be. It is not dumbing down access to the legal professions, it is improving it. It is not about dumbing down the content, but maintaining standards whilst improving access. But it will succeed if, and this is the huge caveat, if the day one outcomes are:
- reflective of actual legal practice;
- meaningful without being too vague;
- assessable; and
- at the right standard.
Last thought. I wonder if in four years we will look back at this post and think, "Wow, it was a reasonable guess for its day, but look at how we work/learn now, and haven't technology and learning systems come a long way since 2013?"
Free trials are only available to individuals based in the UK
* denotes a required field
0330 161 1234