Archive for June 20th, 2012
So, the three largest legal regulators in the UK have decided to launch a Legal Education and Training Review (“LETR”), to consider the education and training requirements of the post Legal Service Act “regulated” and “unregulated” worlds.
I like that fact that they are looking at training but I am less keen on their looking at education. Of course, they need to set the entry requirements for those wishing to take a training course with them – I get that.
I also understand why the regulatory bodies need to set the “qualifying” criteria for someone wishing to start a training course.
But that’s it. Law degrees, whilst a useful course for lawyers are not there for the sole purpose of producing lawyers (we’ve got too many now!).
No, studying law is an excellent discipline for young aspiring minds – even if they have no wish to be a practicing lawyer. The skills we develop through the study of law can be applied to a number of careers which do not necessarily require us to know “legal fact”. Not dissimilar to studying psychology.
In fact, one of the great skills learnt on a law course is learning to think in a structured way. I fear that if the professional bodies get their hands on the law degree, then young aspiring minds may be “overstructured” thinking as a practitioner rather than as a scholar.
This is not new, the study of law was the very origin of scholastic pursuits. Doctorates being issued by “Gloassators” (forebears of the university) were law degrees and the first ever University, in the beautiful city of Bologna, was a law school.
Studying the law meant learning to assess facts, understand the machinations of society and judgment. It was seen as a foundation degree for many other fields of study.
Even Dr Faustus studied law. Ok, not a great example.
Separate the academic and the vocational and maybe those that go on to be practitioners may learn more than the practice of law alone can teach them.
Perhaps then, the professions can stop living in the recent past and get back to the future…