News in Brief

Bar Council makes U-turn on OLPAS timetable

Strict timetables governing the recruitment of pupils have been withdrawn by the Bar Council after leading chambers complained that they had not been consulted about the changes. Last year, sets were banned from offering pupillages in the first six months of the year, in an attempt to prevent those who did not comply with the Bar Council&#39s Online Pupillage Application System (OLPAS) from recruiting all the best students in advance. But the Bar Council has withdrawn the proposals for further consultation following objections from a group of 15 chambers. One senior member of a leading set said the idea of a common timetable was not a bad one, but he wanted to see the deadlines brought forward even earlier. “Our recruitment campaigns are planned so far in advance. The Bar Council came along and changed the rules and didn&#39t consult those people [that the changes] would affect most,” he said.

Bar Lesbian & Gay Group offers student advice

The Bar Lesbian & Gay Group (Blagg) has launched a sponsorship scheme to put university students and bar pupils in touch with qualified barristers for advice and support. Damien Lochrane, Blagg&#39s treasurer, said that around 20 connections had been made so far. “Some people are concerned that their sexuality will have an impact on their career,” he explained. “We want to give pupils the chance to ask questions about the bar and about any difficulties they will encounter.”

Lovells hires new head of international training

Suzanne Fine has joined Lovells as its international head of legal training. Fine moves from Nottingham Law School, where she was head of business development and where she was also responsible for setting up and running the school&#39s London branch. A former College of Law lecturer, Fine remains a visiting professor at Nottingham. She takes on the responsibility for the training and development of more than 1,400 lawyers across 19 jurisdictions.

Law firms scrimping on staff tuition

Law firms are spending less on staff training, according to a new survey from the Legal Education and Training Group (LETG). The second annual survey of LETG members showed that the amount spent on training sessions had slipped from £1,026 to £947 per fee-earner over the past year. Training budgets now account for 0.64 per cent of annual fees, compared with 0.67 for 2000. But the number of training staff available to take the sessions has increased from one trainer per 112 fee-earners to one per 73.

Law Society fills head of education hole

The Law Society has appointed a new head of education and training, filling a post that has been vacant for some months. Julie Swan, currently a director of development at the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, is to make a return to the Law Society&#39s education division in March 2002. Swan replaces Roger Smith, who, along with two other education officers, resigned late last year. A source close to the Law Society said that the spate of departures has come as a result of the “considerable pressures” placed on the department last year.