CoL think tank calls for abolition of training contracts

The Legal Services Institute (LSI) has called for the abolition of training contracts in a new paper that calls for a radical shake up of legal education.

‘The Education and Training of Solicitors: Time for Change’ report puts forward sweeping changes including making the Legal Practice Course the gateway to the solicitors’ profession instead of the training contract.

Director of the LSI Professor Stephen Mayson said: “If the expanded and diverse provision of legal services, envisaged by the Legal Services Act 2007, is to be effective in providing clients with high quality and affordable services, the need for change that we identify must be acted on.”

The paper criticises the Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) as not fully preparing students for the demands of the intensively taught vocational stage, suggesting a new type of degree specifically for those intending to practice. 

As part of the regulation to the QLD, the LSI also calls for recognition that due to universities’ emphasis on research, law lecturers often have little or no experience of professional practice.

The publication of the paper coincides with the announcement of a full-scale education and training review by the three biggest legal regulators, Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board and the Institute of Legal Executives Professional Standards.

Nigel Savage chief executive of College of Law, which funds the LSI, said: “One of the reasons why the college founded the institute was to promote debate and new ideas on legal education and the institute has been actively engaging with all stakeholders in the sector, including providers, to promote such debate.”