SRA sets out training reform proposals

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has set out its views on the future of legal training.

In a policy statement entitled Training for Tomorrow, published on October 16, it sets out what it describes as a “radical” plan for reform.

The statement’s key proposal is that alternate routes to qualification be introduced, “which can be tailored to specific markets and needs.”

The paper cites the “lack of flexibility resulting from a system based on the passing of a series of stages to qualification (the academic stage, the Legal Practice Course and the training contract)” and calls for “an end to the historic ‘one size fits all’ approach to the solicitors’ qualification.”

The SRA’s director of education, Julie Brannan, told Lawyer 2B that it was the role of the providers of legal education to think of “new and innovative” pathways into the profession, saying: “They are specialist educators, and our role in this is to facilitate and support their innovation.”

“What we would hope to see is lots of different pathways which would obviously include graduate and non-graduate routes into the profession,” she added.

The statement also calls for the “replacement of the current tick-box approach to post qualification development with a new system which focuses on continuing competence.”

Brannan stated that the SRA is “keen to engage” with students and young professionals over the details of its proposals, and will conduct a series of formal consultations, focus groups and roadshows over the coming months.

The SRA’s policy statement follows this summer’s publication of the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR), which was billed as the most substantial review of legal education and training since the Ormrod Report of 1971.

The Legal Services Board published its own response to the review last month.