A commentary by Bristol Law Society’s Honorary Secretary, Leon Smith
The SRA, BSB and ILEX Professional Services are currently undertaking a review of the legal education and training system and are due to report their final recommendations in late 2012 to early 2013.
As part of that review, representatives from the Law Society of England and Wales have been travelling the country running a series on engagement sessions to ‘field test’ their proposed responses to various questions posed as part of the review. And so, on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, representatives from various law firms, legal training providers, legal services providers and other interested organisations and individuals met together in a city-centre conference suite for an in-depth review of the Law Society’s exciting “Engagement Document” entitled “Gathering views on the Legal Education and Training Review”.
One key question repeatedly raised and discussed at the review session was what exactly it should mean to be ‘a solicitor’ in the future. The group considered what key skills and attributes a solicitor will need to provide the kind of legal services to be demanded by clients in the future. Those present all agreed that the brand of “solicitor” remained strong but some felt that more could be done improve the public’s perception of the profession.
If the profession is going to continue to thrive and retain its place at the forefront of the provision of legal services, these are the kinds of challenges that will need to be faced by both traditional law firms and tomorrow’s solicitors. Key to facing those challenges will be a robust training programme which continues to promote diversity and excellence within a historic profession which will have to learn to exist alongside new entrants to the modern legal services marketplace.
Legal Life readers can help the profession to address these issues by responding themselves to the Law Society’s Engagement Document by contacting Nicole Poole on firstname.lastname@example.org before the consultation closes on 8 June 2012.
A copy of the Law Society’s position paper can be downloaded *HERE*.
A powerpoint presenatation by Helen Davies can be viewed here