As part of a thinly veiled comment on the recent announcement about reforms to the education of law students, the Lord Chief Justice has emphasised how vital the role of law schools are in the moulding of future lawyers and judges.
Speaking at the Professor Jill Poole memorial lecture, at Aston University, Lord Chief Justice Thomas said that
“Law students must be given the best possible legal education so that they enter the profession with a sound grounding in the law and its practical application, as well as the ethical responsibilities of lawyers”
The memorial lecture, which centres on the importance of commercial law, and how to keep that area of law up to date with the modern world, also saw the Lord Chief Justice warning that the role of law schools as “centres of excellence” must not be eradicated.
The Lord Chief Justice also said that he hoped
“one way in which new lawyers can gain such early exposure is through the development of greater and closer links between universities, law firms and commercial businesses.”
However, he did appear to favour the inclusion of work experience in the new reforms, calling law both an “academic subject and a practical subject”.
This all comes at a time that the education of future solicitors is being decided upon, with the SRA recently announcing the SQE as a replacement of the LPC, which will come into effect September 2020. Criticism of the SQE has also come before from law educating heavyweights, BPP and the University of Law, as well as from law firms. Most of the concern is due to the SQE would remove the requirement for trainee solicitors to have a degree, pass the LPC, or complete a training contract.