Future of legal education debated by top academics

What a 21st century law student needs to study will be debated this summer at Law on Trial, run by the School of Law at Birkbeck, University of London.

The requirements of what students should be covering will be examined as academics ask whether tutors should teach the broad principles of law or focus on detailed procedures and question which bodies should govern qualification rules.

Discrimination and barriers to entry will be discussed by Matthew Weait, professor of law and policy. Weait will talk about the cultural capital used by law firms to promote and recruit staff and how it might lead to unconscious discrimination against women and those from black, asian and ethnic minority lawyers.

His talk will chart the changing demographics within the legal industry and look to the future of the profession, asking how alternative business structures (ABS) will change the makeup of the legal world.

The radical law school of the 1960s will be debated by Adam Gearey, director of law and social justice LLM at Birkbeck.

Legal education will also be debated from a socialist standpoint. Pupil barrister Stephen Knight and caseworker at Lloyds PR Solicitors Natalie Csengeri will look back on their experiences of legal education while Birkbeck’s human rights LLM director Bill Bowring will chair the debate.

UN member of the Working Group on People of African Descent, Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France will speak with legal socialist Boaventura de Sousa Santos and American philosopher Lewis Gordon about the future of law and whether, against a background of cuts and austerity, it will be possible to generate new alternatives for legal education or if high fees, private providers and market competition will put paid to new and innovative ideas.

Law on Trial runs from 17-21 June. More information can be found here.