Interesting article and comments in the online version of the England and Wales Law Society Gazette, about the solicitor branch of the legal profession. Too may graduates, not enough training places. It’s gotten so bad that the Law Society in England is warning students about the situation.
As trainers and providers of family law McKenzie friends we have already had requests from people doing the BVC to work as lay advocates with us, and expect to receive requests from LPC graduates and trainees as well in the near future. We already get a raft of enquiries from law students to work with us. This is markedly different than two years ago when we had no requests from anyone but law students.
The numbers just don’t add up for the established legal professions and either training contracts will have to be replaced with something that will subsume the LPC and BVC graduates or you create another branch of the legal industry, possibly McKenzie friends Plus, and place them above paralegals. That should ensure that these graduates aren’t lost to law altogether.
McKenzie friending for commercial providers such as ourselves should be considered either as an alternative to a vocational legal career, or as a holding pattern until you can get something better. The experience is top drawer and the standard in established companies is high. The likes of Dr Pelling and others including myself regularly take on and trounce counsel, both in the quality of our drafting as well as in our role as advocates.
I also predict that family law McKenzie friends and lay advocates will be available on legal aid with 24 months, and that the ‘value’ of the legal aid rate and the savings made will be pivotal in that decision being made.
And for all those reading this article thinking that we are a cheap route to a better CV I would envisage that there would be a cost to anyone wishing to train with us. This is to be expected in the current climate as there are now ‘paid for’ rather than ‘paid’ internships.