Friday, October 28, 2011

In Practice: More, less, a lot, and too much

A distinctly mixed bag of stories this week:

Firstly, the Gazette reported yesterday that the Lord Chief Justice is ‘not giving up’ on more solicitor judges being appointed. He and Lord Phillips apparently said that diversity is at the core of their vision for the judiciary, encompassing "not only more women and ethnic minorities on the bench, but also more of those awful solicitors and the skill-sets they bring". They told a House of Lords committee last week that 'law firms should be more supportive of solicitors applying for judicial positions and stop allowing the issue to blight promising careers'. Hmm, no mention of the fact that many solicitors are put off entering the judiciary by the fact that it would entail a substantial reduction in their incomes...

Also in the Gazette this week (and elsewhere), a report that: "The biggest fall in university applications in more than 30 years has seen the number of candidates applying to study law drop by a record 5.2%, according to figures released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service." With the increase in tuition fees, this can come as no surprise to anyone. Mind you, I doubt very much whether many members of the public will complain about there being fewer lawyers in future...

Elsewhere, Solicitors Journal reports that the cost of the SRA’s 'change programme' is expected to reach £18 million by the end of this year. The programme, being handled by Tata Consultancy Services, a division of the India-based Tata Group, includes the move to online PC and other renewals through the ill-fated 'mySRA'. Quite where £18 million has gone is not clear to me. Let us hope that they think it is money well spent.

Finally, it seems that too much publicity can be bad publicity, at least as far as Ofcom is concerned. According to Solicitors Journal, an interview with actress Amanda Holden, the 'face of QualitySolicitors', on ITV1’s This Morning programme on the 29th July this year has been found to be in breach of broadcasting rules for unlawfully plugging the legal franchise. Ofcom found that the broadcast had unjustifiably promoted and given "undue prominence" to QualitySolicitors in breach of rules 9.4 and 9.5 of the broadcasting code. Somehow, I doubt that QualitySolicitors will be complaining...

3 comments:

  1. When I became a solicitor some 16 years or so ago, there were about 74,000 solicitors with practising certificates. At the last tally there were nearly 122,000, an increase of 65%, or nearly two thirds. Did the country really need so many more lawyers? I think not.

    Furthermore what does basic economics tell us about expanding supply? It reduces price, in this case remuneration. The expansion in the supply of law graduates to be paralegals and in solicitors themselves has produced huge downward pressure on remuneration. So successive governments' prognostications about the financial advantage of a degree are substantially eroded, at least where law degrees are concerned.

    The applications for the lower levels of the judiciary - district judges and deputies - I understand to be hugely oversubscribed. I wonder why?

    ReplyDelete
  2. 'more of those awful solicitors and the skill-sets they bring".'

    skill-sets or colouring sets?

    ReplyDelete

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