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Legal education and the legal services market


Slides from the presentation given by Julian Webb (UK Centre for Legal Education) at the 2010 conference: Moving forward: Legal education in Scotland.

Slides from the presentation given by Julian Webb (UK Centre for Legal Education) at the 2010 conference: Moving forward: Legal education in Scotland.

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  • 1. Legal education and the legal services market Professor Julian Webb UKCLE
  • 2. The future of the legal profession?
  • 3. Market threats (and opportunities)
    • Legal services market is still economically vulnerable
    • Shift in balance between admitted/non-admitted staff (leveraging ratios)
    • New forms of business practice (MDPs/external ownership) – major implications for practice structures and organisation
    • Commoditisation and automation of high volume work
    • Growth in legal process outsourcing – Indian LPO market estimated to be worth US$640M by end of 2010
    • Acknowledging that the Scottish market may be less segmented/less commoditised than E&W, but....
  • 4. What’s happening in legal education?
    • ± 60% of law graduates not entering practice, though about 70% of our entrants want to (but with a limited conception of what that means)
    • Traineeship bottleneck
    • Concerns about access and diversity
    • Relatively light touch regulation of the academic stage
    • Greater distance between academic and professional priorities?
  • 5. Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010, s.1
    • For the purposes of this Act, the regulatory objectives are the objectives of—
    • (a) supporting—
    • (i) the constitutional principle of the rule of law,
    • (ii) the interests of justice,
    • (b) protecting and promoting—
    • (i) the interests of consumers,
    • (ii) the public interest generally,
    • (c) promoting—
    • (i) access to justice,
    • (ii) competition in the provision of legal services,
    • (d) promoting an independent, strong, varied and effective legal profession,
    • (e) encouraging equal opportunities (as defined in Section L2 of Part II of Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998) within the legal profession,
    • (f) promoting and maintaining adherence to the professional principles
  • 6. Pressure points in England and Wales
    • New regulatory bodies (BSB, SRA, LSB) taking an interest in (the quality of) legal education
    • Company law and ethics [in context of outcomes-based regulation] as new foundation subjects???
    • Employability – work placements, business skills and commercial awareness at a premium?
    • Reforms to vocational training – aptitude (admission) tests and a return to (some) external assessment?
    • More structured work-based learning
    • All in the context of the REF, reduced state funding and the Browne review of student fees!
  • 7. Challenges and opportunities in developing legal education
    • Building the continuum between stages of education in terms of methods as well as knowledge
    • Flexibility vs fragmentation
    • Ensuring trainees are sufficiently stretched at the vocational (PEAT 1) stage
    • Employability for what (and market differentiation)?
    • Tension between achieving current competences, and developing future capability? Implications for methods of L,T&A
      • preparing students to deal with uncertainty
      • developing reflective ethical ‘practitioners’
      • making the experience of legal education transformational
    • Taking CPD seriously