Is legal education ‘fit for purpose’?

Last month I took part in the UCL/LexisNexis Legal Education Debate on whether lawyers need to be scholars. I was privileged to be one of the panellists, but found myself in some hot water for suggesting that, viewed in its entirety, the current framework for the education and development of practising lawyers was not ‘fit for purpose’. Let me explain why I reached that conclusion.

We are now into a period of outcomes focused regulation. While in favour of OFR in principle (I quite like the idea of lawyers being trusted to do the right thing), there are still some practical challenges to be overcome – in particular being able to identify what the right outcome is. Be that as it may, my starting point on education and training was less about the question for debate (do lawyers need to be scholars?) and rather more about the outcome: do we produce lawyers who are fit for practice? My view on that, regrettably, is that we don’t produce enough.

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