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CJLD 2012 social calendar: the first six months

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The May event saw the CJLD members in a more studious mood than usual, as Wesleyan for Lawyers hosted an interactive seminar on saving and investing.  Members at the drinks afterwards (discussing wild mis-management of their own finances) all agreed the session was a useful eye-opener.

This was preceded in April by an event uniquely calculated to scare away the shy and uncoordinated, with a Salsa class at St Pauls Church on Hills Road.  Attendees have assured us it was a great night, with a dance-off resulting in a Kindle being awarded to Beth Thomas of Mills & Reeve.

March saw the hosting of one of the jewels in the CJLD crown, the Pub Quiz.  The teams were generally baffled, with questions like “What is the actual colour of an airplane’s black box” causing consternation and barely-concealed anger.  The ‘Quiz Stains’ won first place, collecting their prizes in front of a resentful crowd.

The early events served as a decent introduction for the new CJLD members, with festive drinks held in December followed by cocktails in January at the Snug.  Things got slightly more serious in February with a sit-down Italian meal – memorable to most as being just about the longest meal in history.  This all helped to ensure, however, that the ice was well and truly thawed for the subsequent events.

Massive thanks go to Lilly Hamilton and Saskia Molekamp, the CJLD Social Secretaries, for their hard work in organising these events, and also the sponsors.

What Happened in Liverpool

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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 letrbox@letr.org.uk, or alternative to the JLD email address – juniorlawyers@lawsociety.org.uk.

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 juniorlawyers@lawsociety.org.uk – 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

Jing

National JLD Annual Conference & Ball in Liverpool (28 April 2012)

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If you are interested in attending the National JLD annual conference & ball in Liverpool, please make the booking as soon as possible. The conference and ball will be held on Saturday 28 April 2012 at Liverpool John Moores University and Metropolitan Cathedral Liverpool.  I attach below a link to the webpage where you can view the details of the event and make the reservation.

http://juniorlawyers.lawsociety.org.uk/node/11854

During the conference there will be seminars about lawyering skills and face-to-face CV clinics throughout the day.  The CV clinics are provided on a first come first served basis, so the earlier you make the reservation the better.

Any questions, please feel free to contact me at jing.xu@mills-reeve.com.

Kind regards

Jing

Jing Xu (National Representative for CJLD)

Nominations for JLD Pro Bono Award 2012

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If you are actively involved in Pro Bono work, or think some of your colleagues deserve being rewarded for their hard work in this respect, please bear in mind that nominations for the above prestigious award are only open till 2 April. This award is part of LawWorks’ annual awards and is aimed at recognising the pro bono work undertaken by individual trainees and solicitors with up to five years post-qualification experience.

As a gentle reminder:

  • The award does not include students. Students have a separate award through LawWorks and the Attorney General Student Awards.
  • This award is intended for individuals only. Any organisation employing a nominated individual will not be referenced at all.
  • Nominations close on 2 April 2012.

For further information including the nomination form and guidance visit

http://www.lawworks.org.uk/2012-awards

Thank you very much for your attention. And good luck to you all!

Jing Xu (National JLD Representative)

CJLD Committee for 2012 ‘meet’

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The new Committee gathered around a table in the Fountain, on 1 March, and purported to discuss matters of importance, though it has since emerged not a single word was successfully exchanged due to the quite staggering level of background noise.  Members mouthed at each other for about 45 minutes before giving up.  Luckily, the Committee members are apparently working away on their own briefs, evidenced by the upcoming Pub Quiz organised by Social Secretaries Lilly and Saskia.  Please see the Events page for more details.

Law Soc JLD blog

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Hi all

Or maybe that should be a stereotypical “hey y’all” [dodgy American accent] given that the most recent Junior Lawyers Division national meeting was attended by representatives of the American Bar Association (“ABA”).  The meeting itself was held on Saturday 12th November 2011 at Chancery Lane, London.

The “General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division” of ABA gave an overview of the Association, which included its structure, scope of work and the extent of its presence globally.  With around 400,000 members across the world, ABA proudly marks itself as the largest voluntary professional association in the world.

In terms of the scope of its work, ABA tackles a broad range of legal issues.  One example that was given at the meeting was the problem of people trafficking in certain areas of the USA, which the General Practice and Solo and Small Firm Division are currently reviewing.

With its global membership and close links to the UK, you might consider enrolling as a member (doing so could involve attending international conferences, such as the upcoming events in Anchorage and Las Vegas which are on the agenda for next year).  All details can be found on ABA’s website: http://www.americanbar.org/utility/about_the_aba.html

After the talk from ABA, Julian Young of Julian Young & Co, provided some rather interesting training exercises on lateral thinking which fans of the UK (and subsequently US) TV program “Whose Line is it Anyway?” would no doubt recognise.  The exercises ranged from only being able to have a conversation using questions through to trying to sell a gas-powered nose picker and salt & pepper shakers with no holes, on a well-known shopping TV channel (don’t even ask).

On a serious note, Julian’s session did highlight how, particularly as legal professionals, it can be quite difficult but nonetheless quite a valuable skill to think on one’s feet laterally and approach an issue from a completely unique perspective.

The JLD Executive Committee then gave their update.  This included the results of the recent election (which saw Hekim Hannan appointed as the new JLD chair).  Recent events such as the JLD essay writing competition and the NQ forum in Liverpool were also mentioned.  One point that I found interesting was the recent conference in Europe which the JLD Executive Committee attended.  Here, Alternative Business Structures were discussed (and apparently received a frosty reception) with various European representatives of the legal profession.

The final point on the agenda was to discuss various legal training courses and how useful these were in practice.  My group discussed the PSC and decided that, as relevant as the course material was on the whole, the key area for improvement would be to have more interaction and practical application of the principles considered.  For example, the topic of “ethics” which typically lasts two days could be converted so that in day 1 the core principles and issues are discussed and on day 2 these are put into practice with, for example, real-life clients (played by actors) in scenarios that have an “ethics-related” dimension.

As ever, please feel free to leave your comments on the above or anything you want to discuss as affecting junior legal professionals today.