Friday, January 31, 2014

DO IT OUR WAY OR NOT AT ALL: Law Society of Scotland’s Fair Access to the legal profession report claims to make it easier to become a Scottish solicitor

Qualification as a solicitor in Scotland is strictly controlled by the Law Society. AMID accusations the Law Society of Scotland have traditionally made it difficult for solicitors & barristers qualified in England & Wales to practice law in Scotland, and added to that, making life difficult for anyone the Law Society may suspect as having ideas of independence from it’s iron grip, a “wide-ranging action plan” aimed at making the route to qualification as a solicitor as fair as possible has today Friday 31 January been approved by the Law Society of Scotland's Council.

The action plan, which spans two years, is based on the 21 recommendations of the 'Fair Access to the Legal Profession' report. The recommendations include: the launch of a Street Law project in schools to help raise pupils' aspirations; a focus on making access to legal internships fairer; and a re-evaluation of the alternative route to qualification to ensure it meets the needs of legal employers and those wishing to access the profession.

Fair Access to the legal profession report- a bit of hit & miss. The report is the culmination of six months of Bruce Beveridge research into all elements of the route to qualification as a solicitor from schools careers advice to qualification into the solicitor profession and beyond.

The Society has worked closely with the Campaign for Fair Access to the Legal Profession, the Scottish Young Lawyers' Association, and the Trainee and Newly Qualified Society amongst other organisations throughout this process. Additional resources will be recruited by the Society to implement the plan.

Bruce Beveridge, President of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "This is an important issue for the profession today and for the future. It is vital that the profession is open to as wide variety of people as possible and that we maintain excellent standards in education and training.  We are committed to examining all aspects of the route to becoming a solicitor, and ensuring that where there are barriers, these are challenged, working with government and others as necessary."

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