Solicitors Qualifying Examination

AGCAS Legal Profession Task Group meeting (December 5th 2019 held at the Bar Council) Updates and notes: Part 1 Partners

AGCAS Legal Profession Task Group meeting (December 5th 2019 held at the Bar Council)
Updates and notes: Part 1 Partners

Attending: Juliet Tomlinson, Chair (Oxford), Jan Steele, Secretary (Southampton), Bridget Lavin (Brunel), Helen Lovegrove (Kings College, London), Susan Rees, (De Montfort), Sarah Kinton (Nottingham Law School), Terry O’Hanlon (Queens, Belfast), Jos Harrison, (University of Newcastle), Paul Gascoyne (Sherman Sterling), Richard Williams (SRA), Matt Broadbent (Globe Publishing/Lawcareer.net), Victoria Stec (Bar Standards Board), Hayley Langan (Bar Standards Board), Poonam Sharma (Bar Standards Board), Rose Malleson (Bar Council), Rita Oscar (Law Society), Rachel Davis (The Lawyer Portal), Charlotte Parkinson (JLD), Callum Reed (JLD), James Wakefield (Council of the Inns of Court), Christopher Kessling (The Inns of Courts College of Advocacy), Daisy Mortimer (Inner Temple) and Kathryn Jack (CILEx).

Apologies: Samantha Lee (Womble Bond Dickinson, Julie Brannan (SRA), Becky Lowe (CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP), Gemma Barnes (White & Case), James Taylor (Graduate Prospects), Marcus Andrews (AGCAS), Anne Petrie (University of Law), Tom Browne (AllAboutlaw))

 

Welcome and introduction Part 1: Partners and Careers Advisers meeting
Welcome and introductions to all including some new members of the group.

Apologies

Please see above.

Minutes of the last meeting (6th June 2019)
No matters arising.

PARTNER UPDATES and COMMENTS

  1. Bar Standards Board

The update was covered in the presentation and the slides from this are available on the AGCAS LPTG website.

  1. Bar Council – Rose Malleson

  1. Future Bar Training

    1. The Bar Council understands that the Inns of Court College of Advocacy, BPP University, City Law School, and Northumbria University have been authorised (conditionally) to offer the vocational component in various pathways (in one-part, in two-parts, and integrated with the academic component).

    2. We have produced an overview of the vocational component, which is available to students on our website. This will cover what kinds of pathways will be available in the 2020 intake.

    3. We are liaising with vocational component providers to gather information about Bar courses relevant to students. We intend for this information to be held on the new Bar Council website’s careers hub. This is particularly important in light of the closure of BarSAS.

  2. Pupillage Gateway

    1. Opened for browsing on 28 November 2019. 90 pupillage providers have signed up so far. This is similar to previous years.

    2. Applications can be submitted between 7 January–7 February 2020. Chambers will shortlist and interview applicants by 7 May 2019, when offers are made.

    3. Applicants can submit 20 applications per recruitment round.

    4. We have consulted with users (including applicants) and have made many updates to improve the system. We are monitoring the impact of these changes.

  3. Pupillage Fair.

    1. The Pupillage Fair was run at Bush House, King’s College London on Saturday 26 October 2019.

    2. Approximately 800 students and career changers attended from across England and Wales. 66% of attendees described their overall experience of the fair as ‘Very good’ or ‘Outstanding’, and a further 21% of attendees described their overall experience as ‘Good’.

    3. We hope to secure a date for the Pupillage Fair 2020 by the end of this year.

    4. 80 exhibitors attended.

  4. Law Fairs. We have attended 17 law fairs across England and Wales with the Inns of Court. We will be attending Nottingham Trent Law Fair in January 2020 and Kingston Law Fair in February 2020.

  5. Bar Placement Week. We are working with Pathways to Law to offer 21 work experience placements to students from Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester from 18-20 February 2020. BC and the ICCA will deliver an advocacy training day in Leeds on Friday 21 February for participants.
    At the meeting Rose reported that they have secured an additional 11 placements.

  6. I am the Bar’ Campaign. We have recruited 10 new Social Mobility Advocates for 2019. You can read more about their stories here.

  7. E-Mentoring. 39 mentors and 34 student mentees are using the service. Business as usual. This is primarily for Year 1 and a few Year 2 students.

  8. Becoming a barrister’. We have reviewed and updated the digital brochure to reflect recent updates in Bar training.

  9. Pupillage Helpline. Business as usual.

  10. Pupillage Support. We are investigating ways in which we can provide more support for pupils.

 

  1. Inns of Court College of Advocacy – Christopher Kessling

The ICCA has made excellent progress since the last AGCAS meeting.

Authorisation
The ICCA has been through a tripartite authorisation process involving the BSB, our university academic partner and the OfS. Final authorisation with the BSB and our university partner now rests on authorisation by the OfS. We have been visited by the QAA on behalf of the OfS and received a very positive report. We are now simply awaiting final OfS sign off. Once received we will be fully authorised to run our Bar Course.


Outreach
We have been fortunate enough to visit numerous universities as part of our outreach programme. Thank you to Juliet and Jan for our visits to Oxford and Southampton respectively. To name but a few we have also been to Bangor, Hull, York, Sheffield, Newcastle, Durham, Cambridge, the University of East London, London Metropolitan University and Queen Mary. We have also run a series of webinars (including live Q&A) on Future Bar Training and the ICCA Bar Course for those who have been unable to attend our outreach events. These have been well attended.
In addition, to assist students we have created numerous films on various aspects of the ICCA Bar Course and the application process which are on our YouTube channel and social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook).


Law Fairs
We have attended a number of individual university law fairs as well as the two main central law fairs (The Bar Council Pupillage Fair and the National Pupillage Fair) which have both attracted much interest from students across England and Wales. We have also had interest from students in Scotland doing common law degree courses.


Future Bar Training
Visiting many students both in England and Wales has highlighted a number of areas of concern for students which I have set out below.


BarSAS
BarSAS was the online portal used by all bar training providers. BarSAS was a private application portal and was not regulated by the BSB. The times for the opening and closing of the portal, for offer and acceptance dates and for clearing were previously all agreed by the providers.
The ICCA decided not to use BarSAS since it did not work with the ICCA Bar Course application process. Bar SAS was also tired and in need of significant updating. All other bar training providers (AETOs) have now abandoned Bar SAS.

This means that students will now have to make applications direct to the AETO/Bar Training provider of their choice. Candidates can make as many applications as they like.
An obvious problem is timelines. In the absence of BarSAS, gone are the previously agreed dates for offers and acceptance. This means that one AETO could offer a place to a student and require acceptance before that student could receive and offer from another AETO. In the absence of regulation or agreement, this is the current position and an obvious concern for students.
The ICCA has decided to adopt the same timelines that BarSAS would have used in 2019/20 if it were still open. As such, the ICCA Bar Course timelines are:

  • 9 December 2019, 12pm: Applications portal opens.
  • 10 January 2020, 12pm: Applications portal closes.
  • 2 March 2020: Offers.
  • 3 April 2020, 12pm: Acceptance deadline.

Fees
On a more positive note, fees for bar training have tumbled across the board. The ICCA charges £13,095 inclusive for students who take both parts of its bar course. It is apparent that a number of other AETOs have dropped their fees by significant amounts from the previous £19,000 standard for London-based training and the £15,000+ standard for regional training. Excellent news for students!

BPTC
The ‘Bar Professional Training Course’ (BPTC) name is now gone and all bar vocational training courses are being run with different names. The majority of emails and conversations I have with students still make reference to the BPTC so I think this change will take some time to register.

SSR
Student-Staff Ratios were regulated under the ‘old’ BPTC but not under the new system. A number of students have raised this with me as to what they should expect. I have advised them to contact individual AETOs for information on this point. The ICCA has one tutor for 12 students for Opinion Writing and Drafting and 1:6 for advocacy and conference skills.

Electives
The new bar training landscape no longer requires mandatory elective subjects to be taken by students. Some AETOs will provide these as add-ons, others may simply avoid them. The ICCA will have specialist workshops and lectures, including by specialist Bar Associations, which are not assessed to help students who want to know more about particular areas of practice.

Pupillage Applications
As well as battling with a lack of regulation or agreement regarding applying for bar training, students face the same issues when it comes to pupillage applications.
The Pupillage Gateway opens on 28
th November 2019 for browsing and then from 7th January 2020 to 7th February 2020 for applications. Of course, numerous chambers do not use the pupillage gateway and have their own timelines.
This year the pupillage gateway is changing. The previous five Bar Council questions are no longer mandatory, so students should expect bespoke questions in their place, up to 7 in total with a 100 to 1000 word limit. Generic applications simply do not work in any event, so this is a positive move.

The Inns
The individual Inns are separate and distinct from the ICCA. Students applying for Inns scholarships for the GDL or bar training can do so irrespective of where they intend to take their courses and there is no advantage to them so far as scholarships are concerned (or for that matter call to the bar, qualifying sessions and membership of an Inn) by applying for a place on the ICCA Bar Course, as opposed to a course run by another AETO.
The Inns can be very helpful to students and provide a number of educational benefits which students are often unaware of. I have been recommending that they look at the individual websites of each Inn for more information.


Social Mobility
The #Iamthebar Bar Council initiative is something which many students are very pleased to hear about. Social Mobility Advocates from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds have their individual stories on the Bar Council website which often resonate with those who are uncertain if they are the ‘right kind of person’ to become a barrister. Many of these social mobility advocates are very active on social media and are an inspiration to many.
The individual Inns can be very helpful in this area. For example, the Pegasus Access and Support Scheme (PASS), established by the Inner Temple and 62 different partner chambers across a range of practice areas, is designed to support aspiring barristers who have not yet started bar training. 


Bar Courses
Multiple websites from AETOs regarding bar training courses are awaiting updates. Websites from ICCA, BPP, City and ULaw have details of the new courses. As at 25/11 all others contain very little information.

At the meeting
Christopher reported that ICCA are keen to work with other AETOs to produce a unified time-line for applications.
Where there is ‘conditional authorisation’ for a course students can still apply for the course.
Each provider is coming up with a name for their Bar Course, at present most seem to be using ‘Bar Course’!

  1. Inner Temple – Daisy Mortimer

For any advisers working with Widening Participation teams or directly with schools, we have “Becoming a Barrister Discovery Days” for 16-18 year olds taking place on: 11 February, 24 March and 8 April. Contact Daisy for further details: dmortimer@innertemple.org.uk

  1. SRA (Richard Williams)

In March 2019 we ran a pilot of SQE1, which assesses the functioning legal knowledge required to be a solicitor, and some skills
The pilot tested whether the SQE1 assessment design was fair, reliable and appropriately robust.
Both Kaplan and our independent reviewer confirmed that the pilot was a useful and valid exercise that achieved our aims.
Based on recommendation from our independent reviewer, we have amended the design from three 120 questions assessments to two 180 question assessments. There will be no change in the curriculum coverage. Moving to two assessments will improve the reliability and accuracy of the assessment.
Kaplan also reported that the pilot results do not give a sound basis for proceeding with the proposed assessment of skills in SQE1. They recommended not assessing skills in SQE 1 at all, but instead relying on the skills assessments in SQE 2
We will continue to explore views with stakeholders so that we can make an overall decision about how and where we assess skills in the SQE across both stages of assessment.
On 10 December 2019, we published final detailed information about the legal knowledge that will be tested in the SQE and sample questions. Information can be found here:
https://www.sra.org.uk/sra/news/press/sqe1-assessment-specification/
We are also in the process of piloting SQE 2 assessment – We have received over 600 applications and expect to recruit about 300 candidates
For the purposes of the pilot, candidates will therefore take 14 skills assessments – seven across the core practice contexts and seven in either criminal practice or company and commercial. This structure is designed to enable us to test different possible models for the live assessment. The outcome of SQE 2 will available early spring
We are working with Kaplan to decide whether we should offer the SQE in Welsh.
We have published support material on our website and candidates to help candidates and employers understand what is required of them. The resources can be found here

We will be publishing resources in spring on Qualifying Work Experience. We are keen to engage with organisations to help us identify issues where guidance is required.
On 16 December 2019, we held our SQE Conference in Manchester. Videos and slides of the session can be found here
https://www.sra.org.uk/sra/news/events/on-demand-events/sqe-conference-2019/

At the meeting
Paul Gascoyne:
Some Law firms are planning to ‘frontload’ SQE1 and 2 and he felt that the SRA should look again at the order in which the qualification is taken as it makes more sense to take SQE1 followed by the qualifying work experience and then SQE2.
Firms secretly know that the LPC is no longer robust.
Employers are becoming more comfortable with the idea of MCQs.

  1. Paul Gascoyne (Sherman Sterling)

Students are more prepared than ever for applications and interviews.
Their priorities have changed and well-being is more important to them.
They have 2000 applications for 30 Training Contracts.
It is becoming more difficult to filter on academics.
It is becoming more difficult to get through the vacation scheme process.

  1. JLD – Charlotte Parkinson and Callum Reed

New Committee Members

The JLD held its annual elections in October and are pleased to welcome the following people to the Executive Committee for the next two years:

  • Manda Banerji – vice chair

  • Leah Caprani

  • Hannah Bignell

  • Jonathan Hodge

  • Oliver Grech

  • Callum Reed – student representative (one-year term)

https://communities.lawsociety.org.uk/news/meet-the-new-jld-committee/6000533.article

Solicitor Apprentices

The JLD are delighted to announce that as of 1 September 2019, solicitor apprentices now fall within the JLD’s membership. We are currently deciding how to provide for our new members and would welcome any suggestions.

Supporting Wellbeing in the workplace
On World Mental Health Day 2019 (10 October), the Law Society published its updated guidance for employers which covers best practice for safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of employees in the workplace. The guidance contains some very helpful infographics, including how to approach conversations on mental health and wellbeing and also how to recognise if a colleague might be suffering.

Using the results of the surveys and reports undertaken by the JLD on wellbeing amongst junior lawyers, the guidance has now been extended to include lawyers at any stage of their career, as well as business support staff.

JLD Career Development Forums

We recently held two of our regular free skills forums in September and October this year. Our London LPC forum aimed at students and LPC graduates looking for training positions and our London NQ forum aimed at trainees and junior solicitors looking to develop their careers. Both events were a success with great feedback from delegates. Our next two forums will be held in Cardiff (aimed at trainees and junior solicitors) and Manchester (aimed at LPC students and graduates applying for training positions) early next year and the dates for the same can be located below.

International Engagement

We hosted our annual International Weekend on 26-29 September in conjunction with the Young Barristers Committee, the European Young Bar Association and the London Young Lawyers Group. International delegates enjoyed a busy programme of seminars, legal visits and networking events culminating in a gala dinner at the Law Society.

Solicitors’ Qualifying Exam (SQE)
We continue to comment and engage with all discussions on this topic, because of its importance and impact on current and future members. The JLD recently attended a
Law Gazette roundtable and continue to engage with the SRA to encourage them to provide answers to our members’ concerns surrounding the detail of the assessment.


Justice Select Committee engagement

On 21 June 2019, the JLD wrote to the Justice Select Committee, requesting an inquiry into the Legal Services Board’s decision to approve the SRA’s introduction of the SQE. The JLD is concerned that the SQE proposals (if implemented) would:

  • be contrary to the public interest

  • not be in the interest of consumers

  • result in lower professional standards

We are asking the Justice Select Committee to hold an evidence session or short inquiry into the Legal Services Board’s approval of the SQE to date before the next stage of the SQE application process.
On 23 July 2019, the Justice Select Committee wrote to the Legal Services Board seeking further clarity about the SQE and later met with the JLD on 15 July 2019 to discuss in further detail. The JLD sent a further letter on 7 November 2019 (copy annexed) and we understand that this will be considered after the General Election, early next year.

Correspondence with the Legal Services Board
The JLD previously wrote to the Legal Services Board on 8 November 2019 to suggest that the SRA undertakes a further meaningful consultation with stakeholders before bringing their application before the Legal Services Board. The Legal Services Board have since announced that the SQE is not a foregone conclusion and that they would expect to see further work done by the SRA in relation to concerns raised by stakeholders. Chair Dr Helen Phillips said: “The board is aware of the strength of feeling around the SRA’s introduction of the SQE… It is my view that the LSB should drive forward this conversation, and we aim to seek views long in advance of the SRA’s next application.” The JLD will shortly be meeting with the LSB to discuss this further.

Correspondence with the SRA
On 5 September 2019, following the release of the SQE pilot results, the Law Society and JLD wrote a joint letter to the SRA outlining the outstanding concerns.

To summarise, our outstanding concerns relate to:

  • a lack of clarity as to how the qualifying work experience element of the SQE will work and the concern that this element of SQE is intended to be unregulated;

  • inadequate equality, diversity and inclusion risk assessments to explore the potential risks and benefits of the SQE to EDI in the profession;

  • the impact of removing the practical legal skills assessment from SQE part 1 and the reliance on multiple-choice questions to assess functioning legal knowledge;

  • the impact of the removal of the requirement for a qualifying law degree or a graduate diploma in law;

  • the lack of transparency surrounding the SQE and the failure by the SRA to publish the raw data from the first pilot;

  • the Law Society has also called upon the government for loans to be made available for those seeking to sit the SQE and has sought the SRA’s support of this.

The JLD is pleased that the Law Society is considering ways to bridge the funding gap so that aspiring solicitors from all backgrounds have the opportunity to access the profession. It is crucial that the SRA continue to listen to stakeholders and seek input from those with expertise in legal education and training.

The SRA responded to this letter, however have not addressed all the queries we have raised. It is therefore intended that a second joint letter from the Law Society and the JLD will be sent imminently.

Correspondence with the Welsh Language Commissioner
The JLD has also recently written to the Welsh Language Commissioner on 8 November 2019 to voice our concerns regarding the SRA’s decision to not offer the SQE in Welsh Copies of these letters will be available on our website in due course. In the meantime, please see our SQE briefing note which covers the latest information including consultations, responses and FAQs page.

http://communities.lawsociety.org.uk/junior-lawyers/policy/solicitors-qualifying-examination-sqe/

Social Mobility Roundtable
Adam Hattersley, Executive Committee member, organised and hosted a roundtable discussion on social mobility in Manchester at Fieldfisher on 5 November 2019. Adam has been concentrating on social mobility in the legal profession and has written a number of articles on social mobility as well as undertaking anonymous interviews in order to ascertain the scale of the problem. It is hoped a further roundtable can be organised next year.
Read his latest article for
The Lawyer: Breaking the class ceiling

Podcasts for junior lawyers
Check out the JLD’s new series of podcasts aimed at junior lawyers. Topics range from an overview of the SQE and calling time on the booze culture, to whether your firm is attractive to trainees and how lawyers and colleagues can maximise performance and protect their wellbeing in a 24/7 constantly connected world.
Our podcasts can be found here – https://communities.lawsociety.org.uk/junior-lawyers/events/webinars/

Character and Suitability assessment
As part of the new Handbook reforms, the SRA will no longer be assessing a candidates character and suitability before they apply by form AD01 to be admitted to the roll. Voluntary early assessments are still available. The JLD is currently considering the implications of this on junior lawyers and wants to ensure that all pre-qualification junior lawyers understand when they might wish to apply for voluntary early assessment.

Booze Culture

As part of the JLD’s work in the mental health and wellbeing space, we have recently launched our Booze Culture Campaign to foster healthier alcohol cultures in the legal profession. We have a webpage full of resources, including lots of interesting alternatives to “drinks” events for you to consider when planning any festive activities.

Key Dates

 

  1. The Lawyer Portal (TLP) – Rachel Davis


High Level Stats

  • Working with 40+ leading law firms, building rapidly.
  • 100k+ users / month visiting the platform – rapid growth from a standing start just 2 year ago. Users are up 124% on last year.
  • Continuing to build our partnerships with BPP, Vantage and the professional bodies – The Law Society, Bar Council and CILEx
  • 50 university TLP ambassadors across the UK. The programme this year is being run in official partnership with Bird & Bird and we hosted an ambassador event with them last month which was a huge success.
  • Launched a school ambassador programme, in partnership with BPP law school using our robust school links and already have over 40 schools on board.

Apprentice Event

  • We ran a successful Apprentice event in partnership with The Law Society at their HQ in London, designed to provide a networking opportunity for Law apprentices. 40 attended and we are now planning the next events and adding Manchester to the schedule. 

What’s coming up? 

  • Law Apprenticeship Conference in London – 18 January 2020. Headline sponsors: Ashurst and Charles Russell Speechlys.

 

  1. CILEx – Kathryn Jack

Kathryn Jack is the recently appointed stakeholder engagement manager at CILEx, although not new to the institute, she is new to the role. CILEx would like to develop an understanding of the AGCAS legal focus group and to connect with additional universities. Kathryn will be introducing herself and explaining her responsibilities, and would love to have separate conversations after the 5th. It’s the time of year again where CILEx is in the midst of reviewing its framework and keen to hear from any academics interested in applying for p/t external assessment positions. Kathryn will be your main contact for any CILEx careers queries.

  1. LawCareers.Net – Matthew Broadbent

LawCareers.Net Website redesign launched on 16 September

  • New, modern look

  • Better navigation

  • Mobile experience – huge improvement

  • Video content

  • Improvements to the LCN Diary – Calendar of events.

Videos made by LCN published including

  • DWF – Being a lawyer in Manchester (Leeds and Brum to follow)

  • Meet the Lawyer (eg Burges Salmon, Osborne Clarke)

  • Non-Law zine with Shoosmiths

  • Multiple videos by the LCN team.

2020 edition of The Beginner’s Giuide to a Career in Law launched August

2020 edition of Law Apprenticeship Guide Launched in September

2020 Edition of The LawCareers.Net Handbook (formerly TC&PH) launched in October

Another Law Unto Itself – advising on a career in law ½ day seminar for advisors coming. Date TBC. Location: our new offices!

2020 Student Law Society Awards launched – currently doing the research. Awards in March.

Lots of SQE coverage on the site. More coming soon. Very popular with readers.

LawCareers.Net LIVE events happening over the coming days MCR done 29/11, London tomorrow 6/12. Bristol 10/12.

Bar coverage currently being refreshed.

LCN teal attended LawFairs (30) – big enthusiasm for Handbook, more sign ups for LCN weekly than ever.

  1. AllAboutLaw – Tom Browne

AllAboutLaw.co.uk has had an overhaul

Firstly, we’ve continued to expand our video section to contain all our advice content—everything from Application Process to Partner Interviews.

We’re also expanding our Courses content to cover the SQE and changes to the BPTC. The other Advice sections are being updated to streamline and clarify the content. We’ve launched our Premium AllAboutLaw Commercial Awareness Toolkit, a series of videos and interactive tools to improve commercial awareness.

Finally, we’re in the middle of a campaign (running until January) to highlight the importance of vacation schemes and how to go about applying for them. This has included lots of exclusive video content, supporting social media, ads and emails.

Events

It’s been a busy month in terms of events. We’ve been attending Law Fairs across the country, distributing booklets and cups and premiering CAG, an interactive commercial awareness quiz. We also ran our first engagement event for law firms looking to reach university students. 

We will be hosting the AllAboutLaw Awards 2019 in November. The rankings are based on anonymous feedback from current trainee solicitors and therefore provide students with an honest insight into what it’s really like to work for the participating firms. This will have taken place by the time of this meeting!

The Principle

We published four editions of our commercial awareness newspaper, The Principle, in 2019, with two more planned for 2020 before a planned migration online. This will allow us to hugely expand our content and reach. We also launched a weekly supporting blog, which rounds up news, recommended reads and client updates.

You can access all Principle content here: https://www.allaboutlaw.co.uk/commercial-awareness

  1. Northern Ireland update – Terry O’Hanlon

There is only one organisation in Northern Ireland that offers vocational training: Institute of Professional Legal Studies, part of Queen’s University Belfast www.qub.ac.uk/ipls. It provides solicitor and barrister training in the jurisdiction of Northern Ireland. At the time of writing (December 2019) there are 120 places available for solicitors’ apprentices and 20 for barristers.

All applicants to the Institute must sit an entrance examination in the December prior to the year they wish to take up a place at the Institute (final year). It should be noted that applications must be submitted and received to the Institute by mid November 2019. There is an early application fee of £225 which is available from the opening of the application process, midday on the Monday 9th September 2019, until midday on the Monday 7th October 2019.  After that, the full fee of £310 is payable up to the closing date of the application process. Online applications close on the 18th November 2019 for those applicants commencing in September 2020. The closing date is generally around the same every year but please check with IPLS for any changes.

For the first time the examination on the 14 December is a computer based assessment and the results will be in rank order. Students usually spend from Semester 1 of final year to August trying to find an apprenticeship. If unsuccessful they have to take the exam again the following year.

Solicitor Information – Northern Ireland

Education and training in Northern Ireland differs significantly from England and Wales (combined vocational study and practical training, essentially a two year apprenticeship under a master).

http://www.lawsoc-ni.org/ The Law Society for Northern Ireland is the regulatory and representative body for solicitors in Northern Ireland.

The section “becoming a solicitor” gives details on how to qualify as a solicitor.

https://www.lawsoc-ni.org/becoming-a-solicitor

Despite an economic downturn and a reduction in work, firms continue to offer apprenticeships and numbers have remained reasonably steady to date.

The 2 year apprenticeship runs as follows:

(a) September to December – spent in office

(b) January to December – spent at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies

(c) January to August – spent in office.

In order that a student can take up their place at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies he/she must register with the Law Society and he/she must have a Master (a solicitor with whom the applicant proposes to serve his/her apprenticeship). Finding a Master is the responsibility of the applicant.

Details of solicitors’ firms are available on the online “Solicitors Directory.” http://www.lawsoc-ni.org/solicitors-directory/

Barrister Information – Northern Ireland

The section “becoming a barrister” gives details on how to qualify as a barrister.

http://www.barofni.com/page/becoming-a-barrister

http://www.barofni.com/ The Bar of Northern Ireland and Bar Council is the regulatory and representative body for barristers in Northern Ireland.

Trainees attend the IPLS fulltime from August – June. Prior to this they must be admitted as a student to The Inns of Court. Between August – September you will be on structured 4 week work experience supported by Citizens Advice and is organized by the IPLS. After attending IPLS trainees undertake a 12 month practical pupillage with a Master.

  1. AOB


Juliet explained that after many years of loyal and dedicated service to the Group we are very sad to report that Helen, Susan and Bridget will be leaving and this was their last meeting. New members will be recruited to replace then in early 2020 and they will attend the meeting in June.

We are extremely grateful to them for all their hard work much of which is undertaken in their own time.

Juliet and Jan will be leaving next December and volunteers to act as Chair and Secretary to the Group will be sought from the current and new members.

Date of next meeting: 4th June 2020
Location: TBC

 

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