Foreign giants combine to enter UK training market as radical education shake-up looms

Foreign giants combine to enter UK training market as radical education shake-up looms

Australia’s leading legal training outfit is to team up with a major US player to enter the UK market ahead of a radical but controversial shake-up of the framework for training solicitors in England and Wales. The College of Legal Practice has today (27 November) launched as a new entrant to the vocational training sector to build courses geared to the incoming Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), the biggest overhaul in the UK’s legal educational regime for a generation.

The College – a wholly-owned subsidiary of The College of Law Australia and New Zealand – will partner with US education provider BARBRI on the initiative, an attempt to challenge the effective duopoly of solicitor training in England and Wales. The move is touted as harnessing a more dynamic approach to training under the new regime, which abolishes the requirement for two-stage vocational training to usher in more flexible routes to qualification. Continue reading “Foreign giants combine to enter UK training market as radical education shake-up looms”

In-house leaders sign letter urging law firms to ramp up diversity efforts

In-house leaders sign letter urging law firms to ramp up diversity efforts

A group of 65 general counsel (GCs) spanning major companies from the UK and Europe has collectively signed a letter urging law firms to improve their diversity efforts.

Among those to have lent their support to the statement are Shell GC Donny Ching, Vodafone group GC Rosemary Martin (pictured), Unilever’s chief legal officer Ritva Sotamaa, Anglo American group GC Richard Price and BHP Billiton group GC Caroline Cox. Continue reading “In-house leaders sign letter urging law firms to ramp up diversity efforts”

Comment: PRIME and the rise of law’s tick-box diversity ‘solution’

Comment: PRIME and the rise of law’s tick-box diversity ‘solution’

The sheepish evasion now emanating from the once-lauded social mobility project PRIME is an abject lesson in what ethically ails the modern profession. Flashy initiatives, heavily promoted and then… nothing. Because the truth is that large commercial law firms confronted with all manner of social dilemmas have developed an increasingly unhealthy reflex response of reaching for gestures to give the facsimile of action with at best minimal focus on tangible results.

As you can see in Thomas Alan’s piece this month, the lack of rigour and quantifiable results emerging from PRIME, the most celebrated response to a social affairs issue to ever emerge from the commercial UK profession, is an ominous sign for an industry that purports to be getting more progressive. Continue reading “Comment: PRIME and the rise of law’s tick-box diversity ‘solution’”

Whatever happened to PRIME? – Drift sets in for once lauded diversity project

Whatever happened to PRIME? – Drift sets in for once lauded diversity project

Thomas Alan assesses the initially lauded, now forgotten social inclusion initiative

‘Forgive my ignorance, can you tell me what you mean by PRIME? What is it exactly?’ asks one partner at a top-25 UK law firm, a partner charged with responsibility for overseeing apprenticeships at a firm with membership to that same cross-industry group. Continue reading “Whatever happened to PRIME? – Drift sets in for once lauded diversity project”

PRIME and the rise of the tick-box ‘solution’

PRIME and the rise of the tick-box ‘solution’

The sheepish evasion now emanating from the once-lauded social mobility project PRIME is an abject lesson in what ethically ails the modern profession. Flashy initiatives, heavily promoted and then… nothing. Because the truth is that large commercial law firms confronted with all manner of social dilemmas have developed an increasingly unhealthy reflex response of reaching for gestures to give the facsimile of action with at best minimal focus on tangible results.

As you can see in Thomas Alan’s piece this month, the lack of rigour and quantifiable results emerging from PRIME, the most celebrated response to a social affairs issue to ever emerge from the commercial UK profession, is an ominous sign for an industry that purports to be getting more progressive. Continue reading “PRIME and the rise of the tick-box ‘solution’”

The future is female – women lawyers outnumber men in UK as the in-house boom continues

The future is female – women lawyers outnumber men in UK as the in-house boom continues

In a landmark for the legal industry that nevertheless raises some uncomfortable truths, the number of working female solicitors in England and Wales has exceeded men for the first time according to new figures.

Reflecting the decades-long influx of junior women to the profession, the total number of women lawyers in the world’s second largest legal market is now 50.1% of the UK’s 139,624 practising certificate (PC) holders, and 48% of the 93,155 solicitors in private practice. Continue reading “The future is female – women lawyers outnumber men in UK as the in-house boom continues”

Comment: The answer to law firms’ social ills is not another league table

Comment: The answer to law firms’ social ills is not another league table

Have we reached peak aspirational employer league table yet? From the perspective of the legal industry we certainly should have, given the trend in recent years for the profession to turn up with improbably high rankings in a proliferating range of ‘best employers for…’ tables.

Were an alien to descend to earth and judge the industry on the basis of these rankings they would conclude that the profession had cracked social mobility, gender diversity, gay-empowerment and quality of life… all the while generating a tonne of money. Continue reading “Comment: The answer to law firms’ social ills is not another league table”

Answer to law firms’ social ills is not another league table

Answer to law firms’ social ills is not another league table

Have we reached peak aspirational employer league table yet? From the perspective of the legal industry we certainly should have, given the trend in recent years for the profession to turn up with improbably high rankings in a proliferating range of ‘best employers for…’ tables.

Were an alien to descend to earth and judge the industry on the basis of these rankings they would conclude that the profession had cracked social mobility, gender diversity, gay-empowerment and quality of life… all the while generating a tonne of money.

Continue reading “Answer to law firms’ social ills is not another league table”

Legal profession lacks diversity in partnership despite changing demographic of profession

Legal profession lacks diversity in partnership despite changing demographic of profession

The number of female practice certificate (PC) holders increased yet again by 3% to 67,393 from 65,147 as at July 2016, yet number of female partners remained relatively stagnant increasing only by seven to 8,105, according to the latest Annual Statistics Report from the Law Society, a trend echoing last year’s report. 

Continue reading “Legal profession lacks diversity in partnership despite changing demographic of profession”

Comment: Fieldfisher’s Chissick on why real change on diversity needs leadership in law

Comment: Fieldfisher’s Chissick on why real change on diversity needs leadership in law

‘Did you see the game at the weekend?’ is the type of question I am often asked at events. I know my answer, ‘no, I don’t really follow sport’ – will kill the conversation dead, and I don’t have the skills or required knowledge to blag my way through the small talk of the weekend’s fixture list.

Continue reading “Comment: Fieldfisher’s Chissick on why real change on diversity needs leadership in law”