Comment: Time to move on – Savage argues legal education is falling behind the realities of the profession

Comment: Time to move on – Savage argues legal education is falling behind the realities of the profession

Let’s get this in context right off the bat. The Training for Tomorrow proposals by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) represent the most radical change in legal education for over 20 years. When one considers the massive structural changes in the legal services market in recent years, which have been covered extensively by Legal Business before, we are faced with a unique situation.

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Here we must run, just to stay in place – what it takes to be a law firm partner in 2016

Here we must run, just to stay in place – what it takes to be a law firm partner in 2016

Macfarlanes’ Charles Martin reflects on the paradoxes facing the modern partner

I confess the analogy is not perfect, but reflecting on the bizarre and often contradictory pressures on partners in law firms today brings to mind the world of Alice in Wonderland. Today, many question the appropriateness of the partnership model itself. They certainly question the strange, often opaque feudal master/servant process by which the aspiring lawyer serves their apprenticeship. They then work (following the white rabbit down the hole past many locked doors) until they leave all caution behind and take the option of partnership – a bit like Alice eating the cake with ‘EAT ME’ written on it. Readers of the story will know that the result is Alice growing to such a tremendous size that her head hits the ceiling! The analogy is maybe not so imperfect after all.

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It’s high time we moved on – why legal education fails the key test

It’s high time we moved on – why legal education fails the key test

Nigel Savage argues that legal education is falling further behind the realities of the industry

Let’s get this in context right off the bat. The Training for Tomorrow proposals by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) represent the most radical change in legal education for over 20 years. When one considers the massive structural changes in the legal services market in recent years, which have been covered extensively in these pages before, we are faced with a unique situation. The legal services sector has moved on and is tackling fundamental issues provoked by a combination of market forces, regulatory changes and the impact of technology. The SRA needs to reflect that environment within the new test of knowledge and competence (the mooted Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), which is billed as a means of raising professional standards and allowing more flexible routes to qualification). It is, however, constrained by the contradiction of a regulatory framework based as much on historic and largely outdated concepts of ‘reserved’ activity and the reality that a huge proportion of the work that takes place in the market (particularly the City) is not reserved and therefore doesn’t require solicitor status. Even where it is reserved, others can often deliver it at a much lower cost.

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Privacy v transparency – incoming OECD tax rules are opening a new battle front

Privacy v transparency – incoming OECD tax rules are opening a new battle front

Withers’ Filippo Noseda casts a weary eye over the latest attempt to bolster tax disclosure

In almost every field of legal work, privacy is regarded as a primary and legitimate concern to protect the interests of individuals and organisations. This was confirmed recently when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) struck down the US-EU data exchange agreement amid fears that data transferred to the US would end up in the hands of the US government – a fear fuelled by the revelations in 2013 by Edward Snowden of widespread electronic surveillance – as well as a US judge’s ruling ordering Microsoft to deliver information held on an Irish server. For the ECJ, the US-EU ‘safe harbour’ agreement violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that a private life is a human right and any interference with it must be proportionate and justified.

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Singapore swing – a credible threat to the dominance of English law

Singapore swing – a credible threat  to the dominance of English law

English lawyers have long had an edge over their US and continental colleagues. English law was established early as the law of trade, business and increasingly projects – a throwback to the days of the Empire. This was a major driver of growth for UK-based firms in recent decades, but it is well known that New York law has become a rival to English law, especially in banking and finance, as corporates tap into the deep US debt markets.

However, more recently, we are seeing another trend that threatens the dominance of English law in Asia and further afield. Singapore law is increasingly becoming the go-to choice of governing law for Asia-Pacific cross-border deals and a strong choice for global deals.

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Comment: NRF’s Martyr – ‘Society craves balance but the profession drives our people in a different direction’

Comment: NRF’s Martyr – ‘Society craves balance but the profession drives our people in a different direction’

Our profession is facing a growing tension between the drive for profit – the resurgent guiding principle of the 2000s – and the increasing demand for more social responsibility among businesses. Post-recession, we can add increased competition, the scrutiny of the business press and a growing focus on efficiency into the mix, all of which amounts to a potential recipe for trouble. Continue reading “Comment: NRF’s Martyr – ‘Society craves balance but the profession drives our people in a different direction’”

Breeding cynicism – a call to move past the money-driven culture afflicting law

Breeding cynicism – a call to move past the money-driven culture afflicting law

NRF’s Peter Martyr argues senior lawyers need to speak out for a more responsible vision of the profession

Our profession is facing a growing tension between the drive for profit – the resurgent guiding principle of the 2000s – and the increasing demand for more social responsibility among businesses. Post-recession, we can add increased competition, the scrutiny of the business press and a growing focus on efficiency into the mix, all of which amounts to a potential recipe for trouble.

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UK’s fintech boom is set to dazzle but advisers are still struggling to respond

UK’s fintech boom is set to dazzle but advisers are still struggling to respond

Simmons & Simmons’ Angus McLean argues the profession is missing a unique opportunity in the City’s fintech revolution

Unless you have been too busy reconciling your cheque book stubs against your monthly paper bank statements, you may have heard that the financial technology (fintech) sector is white hot right now.

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‘A watershed moment for enforcement’ – sizing up class action competition reforms

‘A watershed moment for enforcement’ – sizing up class action competition reforms

Cleary’s Sunil Gadhia and Paul Gilbert on the much-touted reforms of competition disputes

We have begun a journey into the unknown. The new collective action regime for competition litigation, which came into effect on 1 October, has set the market abuzz with speculation. For example, in the wake of the recent benchmark manipulation scandals, what impact will the new regime have for banks?

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