The ‘radical’ changes by the LETR

In a recent article I read on Lawyer2b, I found out that the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) is considering the abolition of the qualifying law degree. But could the end really be near for the traditional LLB, and what will the future hold for alternatives into law?

Darren Fitzpatrick

Darren Fitzpatrick

The LETR discussion paper published on the 12th March aims to codify and simplify the structure of legal education but it makes me wonder, are these radical changes the way forward, or have they gone a bit too far?

As an A Level student, I have heard many discussions about law degrees and what they mean to budding lawyers and our teachers. Many people think, what’s the point of a 3-year law degree when you can study something else you have a passion for and breeze through the 1 year Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).

Others believe that the law degree is essential in the first steps of a career in law and that it has been tradition for centuries so why break that tradition now?

In my opinion, the current system seems like a very good way for students to have flexibility with what they study, whether it is LLB with a language, or a degree in Biochemistry and conversion into Law.

However, when looking at the alternatives suggested by the LETR, it can be argued that these suggestions simplify legal education where previously it might have been complicated. Proposed changes such as National Assessments, similar to the LNAT however at the point of entry into the profession have already proven popular, one person commented “A national assessment centre at the entry point to the profession is an excellent idea – weed out people who have no realistic prospect of qualifying as a solicitor early on, before they have spent several years and tens of thousands of pounds on their dream.”  The assessments can be used by universities and law firms to assess aptitude in the legal profession and potentially giving advice on future prospects.

However, it can be stated that these assessments can be unfair as they are to be taken before legal education and candidates might not reach their highest potential. I believe that the assessments can be taken as a positive considering that the results from those assessments can be used positively to create targets and aspirations and not discriminatory by disallowing candidates with lower scores.

The LETR paper titled “Call for Evidence: Key Issues” is the first in a series of three papers based on the discussion area however the LETR are open to comments and suggestions until the 10th of May with the final two papers expected to be released in April and June 2012.