Hello my friends
My apologies for not being able to write an earlier update about the National JLD Conference and Committee Meeting which I went to last weekend. It has been a very busy week for me, and probably for all of you as well.
I am not going to talk too elaborately about the conference and ball, as you probably already know or heard that they were utterly – Amazing! To add to the excitement, I won a bit of a prize from the dinner raffle held that evening – 3 free tickets to the Belle Vue Greyhound Stadium in Manchester! However, to be honest, I got a little disappointed when I realised that there wasn’t a free return ticket to Manchester in the envelop as well… So, if any of you happen to be travelling up north a lot, and are interested in watching dog racing, please let me know as soon as possible as there are only 3 tickets.
Now let’s move on to the serious stuff.
On Sunday 29 April, the 2nd National JLD Committee meeting was held in Liverpool Holiday Inn, and here are the main issues that have been discussed:
1. Update from the JLD Executive Committee on the progress of various work the JLD has committed itself to. The issues which may be of particular interest to you are:
- The JLD has participated in the equality impact assessment on the trainee minimum salary issue and submitted its answers to SRA, who will make a decision on 16 May.
If you wish to also participate in the equality impact assessment as an individual stake holder, please do so before 10 May, when the assessment closes.
- The Legal Aid Bill is currently going through the two Houses, where the House of Lords have made a historical amount of amendments due to the controversy instigated by the Bill. JLD urges prospective lawyers to think carefully what areas of law they would like to practice upon qualification, because as a result of the Bill some areas may not be as lucrative as they used to seem.
2. SRA CPD Review
The SRA is reviewing the current CPD framework in order to make it more effective for meeting the professional development needs of lawyers at different stages of their career. Focus groups and interviews were arranged during the meeting, and participated by all members of the JLD Committee. In particular, people contributed their views to the following questions:
- How the planning of CPD courses should differ as fee earners’ experience grows;
- Are there any barriers to make CPD useful to you;
- How the CPD provision is planned in different types of firm;
- How is CPD valuated;
- How prescriptive CPD should be;
- What do you think the SRA should do to make CPD more effective?
To the last question, I made a suggestion that in stead of talking about imposing severer sanctions and more intense monitoring for firms to comply with CPD requirements, why not start by rewarding firms which have demonstrated good compliance – e.g. by publicising the overall CPD records achieved by the firm’s employees during that year on the SRA website, which shows to the public the efforts made by that firm to keep its lawyers updated with the latest legal developments. By doing so, we can hope that firms get a stronger incentive to ensure better CPD training to their employees. This suggestion was well received by all participants.
3. Legal Education and Training Review (‘LETR’)
The review is a joint project of the SRA and the Bar Standards Board as well as the Institute of Legal Executives Professional Standards. The aim of the review is to fundamentally examine the legal education and training requirements of individuals and entities delivering legal services, from entry to the profession to continuing professional development, to see whether they are fit for purposes. It will result in a final report in December 2012 presenting a number of recommendations for the future regulation of legal education and training.
The JLD Committee held a group discussion on various aspects of the LETR, including whether the LPC is a necessary or desirable part of qualification pathway, whether there should be a national assessment on legal qualification and whether the concept of qualifying law degree should be abolished, etc. The value of professional skills courses has also been discussed and debated upon during the meeting.
As individual members of JLD, you are also welcome and encouraged to submit your own views to help with the above review. Please send your comments via the LETR website – http://letr.org.uk/, or the dedicated email address at firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternative to the JLD email address – email@example.com.
4. JLD Essay Competition 2012
The essay question for this year is ‘What impact should the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill have on the Legal Education and Training Review?’
Essays must be no more than 2,000 words in length. The winner will receive a prize of £500 and the runners up will receive £250.
Entries must be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org – the closing date is 28 June 2012.
For more information, please visit the JLD website at: http://juniorlawyers.lawsociety.org.uk/node/16622
5. Other forth-coming events:
- The LPC Student Forum 2012 is going to be held in Leeds – date and place to be confirmed;
- Expedition to Borneo – details will be circulated later;
- Unpaid work experience survey – students will be invited to participate in this survey regarding how much unpaid work experience they have been doing;
- The JLD Facebook page has now switched from a group page to fans page. So please do make sure that you follow the shift to link yourself up to the right page;
- The next JLD National Committee meeting will be held on 6 October in London;
- Election for the new JLD Executive Committee including the president and vice president will commence at the end of September.
So…that is briefly (you may dispute that) what happened in Liverpool last weekend. For those of you who have the perseverance to follow me all the way here, my huge gratitude and admiration to you. Hoping you all get a bit of information which is useful to you. Please do come to visit the CJLD website from time to time, as more interesting news and events will be posted here shortly after.
Hoping you all enjoy a very relaxing bank holiday.
See you soon