Fusion by the back door?

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  • I disagree, most people opt for the LPC as it is cheaper and everyone is fully aware of the intense competition at the bar. Becoming a Solicitor is generally more viable. I took my LPC whilst always fully intent on becoming a Higher-Rights Advocate.

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  • Tobias, author's making point that someone will opt for BPTC if wishing to be an advocate "above all else." Solicitor-advocate is still first and foremost a solicitor, not a full-time advocate. Opting to train as solicitors just because competition is slightly lower than for the bar does not seem like the best reason. Do solicitor-advocates handle more or less advocacy than barristers? I'm sure it must be less or all barristers would be switching to get the steady salary, right?

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  • There will always be the need for *advocates* but not *barristers.* A fused profession can work if lawyers who are good advocates simply spend most time in court than those who are better at other things.

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  • Alex, totally disagree. I wanted to be an advocate above all else, but couldn't afford the Bar. I've always been clear in my ambitions and began my experience in general litigation and county court advocacy with some limited High Court experience too, to prep for my Higher Rights. My professional skills element of my training contract will include the Higher Rights course and upon completion I can get my Higher Rights of Audience where I will work in a department dealing almost exclusively with advocacy.

    Kate hits the nail on the head.

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  • Hello all. Good to see that my article led to debate. As I’m here, I will respond to your points.

    Tobias..... I congratulate you on realising your ambition. You have opened my eyes, in that you secured full-time employment as an advocate via the solicitors’ route. That must have taken a great deal of focus and tenacity on your part. However, I do not accept that the pathway you have chosen is an ideal one for the vast majority of graduates wishing to become an advocate “above all else” in their preferred area of law. Also, I must say, regarding your point that the Bar is less affordable: I am from a poor background, yet I have robbed ‘Peter’ to pay ‘Paul’ in order to afford Bar School. I wish to be self-employed in order to work as a Higher Rights advocate from day one.... minus the sleepless nights about department re-structuring, which employees of any firm or public body must face eventually.

    Kate..... I take your general point, i.e. that an advocate is an advocate at the end of the day. However, you seem to dismiss the specialist training which goes into the making of the barrister. Did you know, for instance, that a barrister will need to have undertaken around 120 days of specific advocacy training pre-qualification, plus pupillage, whereas a solicitor can now practise in the Crown Court with as few as 22 hours such training? [Counsel Magazine, June 2014, p18] Hence, there is something to be said for advocates who pick Bar School over Solicitor School.

    Alex...... You asked whether solicitor-advocates handle more or less advocacy than barristers. Tobias has shown it is possible for a solicitor to become a full-time advocate. And as I explained in my article, some barristers are engaged mainly for their learned opinion, thus handling more written than oral advocacy. Nevertheless, I still assert that solicitors, on the whole, are the “GPs” of the legal profession, thus handling far less of the specialist advocacy. Solicitors normally serve as the public’s first point of contact, requiring a broader knowledge base and skill set than just advocacy, evidence and court procedure. In my view, this necessarily means that solicitors, on the whole, will be less skilled as advocates than barristers. It is also why a “fused” profession would diminish the quality of representation, thereby harming the public interest.

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