Legal Profession.

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  • Created by: bananaaar
  • Created on: 08-04-14 18:43

Law degree route?


  • 3 years so allows wider understanding. 
  • Less stress as its spread over 3 years. 
  • Prepares better for training, allows for skills to develop. 
  • Undergraduates get a grant/loan so you get funding. 


  • Only 1 degree, many with same degree, doesn't show diversity in competitive market.
  • Expensive and loans have to be payed back, 
  • Very competitive to get onto course. 
  • Learn same as GDL's so not regarded as above. 
  • Many universities require LNAT, more stress to get onto course. 
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Graduate Diploma In Law?


  • Quick
  • Get 2 degrees rather than 1.
  • Stands out in competitive firms.
  • Shows knowledge and other qualities. 
  • Less competitive to get onto degree. 
  • Part time option allows for working class/women and children. 


  • Shorter time to learn, more stress. 
  • Little experience/background knowledge.
  • Not everywhere, only certain uni's do it s not accessible for everyone. 
  • Extra cost as post-grads don't get grant. 
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  • Alternative route, opens up judiciary as increased diversity as working people do CILEX. 
  • Flexible unliek law degrees - open to wider range of people. 
  • Open to a variety of qualifications. 
  • No student debts.
  • Many study centres, more local than universities. 
  • ONly need 4 GCSE's. 


  • Subject to lower pay.
  • Still takes time, 5 years 'on the job', 2 years training course. 
  • Not as well known.
  • Standards vary. 
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Points for deterring candidates from legal profess

  • Non-law degree v Law Degree. 
  • Length of training.
  • Cost of training. 
  • Choice to become solicitor/barrister being made too early in process. 
  • Competition/ bottle-neck effect.
  • Elitism v equality (dominated by white upper class men but p/t nature gives more people a chance. 
  • CILEX opens up legal profession. 
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Barristers traditional work.

  • 80% self-employed and concentrate on advocacy, although some specialise in areas, e.g. tax law. Others are employed as salaried barristers where they work in-house for a large company. 
  • Self employed have a tanancy in a chambers. 
  • Self-employed barristers have a cab rank rule, so they must accept any case given to them by the clerk so they cannot pick and choose cases. 

What work they do?

  • Non-advocacy work - write legal opinions, advise solicitors and clients & take instructions from solicitors/clients (direct access on civil matters.)
  • Automatic right of advocacy in all courts. 

Rights of advocacy?

  • Barristers who do not become QC are known as 'junior barristers', and QC's known as 'silks'. 
  • After 10 yrs a barrister may apply to become a QC after an application (costs 5k total) and interview.
  • As a result of QC they get higher status and can command higher fees. 
  • take on higher profile cases. 
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Traditional Work of Solicitors?

  • Solicitor will start work as a 'fee earner' in a partnership/solicitors firm. 
  • Thre are High Street Solicitors, Commercial Law Firms, and Salaried solicitors. 


  • Work that does not involve preparing cases for court (advise clients - interiew, letter, and draft instructions for barristers.)
  • Give advice on wills and probate, conveyancing, consumer problems, family matters. 

Rights of advocacy?

  • Automatic right to present in magistrates (criminal and civil) and county court. 
  • SOlicitor advocates can present clients in higher courts subject to completing the necessary training. 
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Fusion timeline.

1985 - Administration of Justice Act was introduced allowing independent licenced conveyors instead of solictors using it, with the aim to get more competitive market. This meant solicitors lost out on money so had to find it somewhere else. 

1990 - COurts and Legal Services Act - gave solicitors right of advocacyenabling solicitors to represent in higher courts (stealing from barristers). 
Also Barristers could not have direct access to clients in civil cases so they didnt have to go through solicitor, so took work away from them.

1999 - Access to Justice Act - All solicitors automatically aquire automatic rights of audience when they complete LPC course. Also solicitors could become QC so could progress to the superior judiciary (aimed to increase diversity.) 

2007 - Legal Services Act - Meant solicitors and barristers can work together in a LDP so they could work closely together. Bar standards board also removed ban on barristers conducting litigation. 

Complaints procedure was merged as Legal office for complaints and Legal Ombudsmen oversees both professions. 

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Advantages/disadvantages of fusion?


  • Expense - With a divided profession client has to pay both costs, so fusion would increase competition and drive down costs. 
  • Efficiency - A two-teir system means that work may be duplicated unnecessarily. Removal of this would make the process more efficient (same lega person prepares & presents work)
  • Judiciary - Removal of two-tier ranking allows solicitors to access higher judicial appointments, thus increasing diversity (ethnic and social)
  • Continuity - Clients only have to deal with 1 lawyer throughout litigation and advocacy. Advantagous in terms of communication and raising confidence in client.


  • Specialisation - sepcialist skills of each profession compliment each other, two professions can do their jobs better than one profession doint both. Expecting lawyers to be skilled in office skills and advocacy may reduce quality of service.(Barristers have expertise/specialism)
  • Independence - Bar Council agreed that Cab Rank Rule guarantees independence/no bias so no defendent goes undefended. The fact that B's operate independently contributes to this. 
  • Objectivity - Having second opinion allows for more objectivity in a case. 
  • Access to bar - Many barristers would join specialist firms, so specialist skills less accessible to average person. (more money for companies, lose people at the bar.)  
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Diversity of legal profession?

  • Ethnic minorities are under represented, in 2012 only 12.6% solicitors BME. However a small increase in 10% in 2010. 
  • Only 0.7% solicitors are African-Carribean. 
  • Women earn on average £15,000 less than men, meaning probably dont reach top ranks. 
  • Equal in terms of gender - Practising certificates - 47.3% are women, 52.6% men. 
  • Women and BME lawyers leave in disproportionately high numbers. 
  • Only 29% primary carer for a child so means that having a child is difficult. Strict nature of job may put people off, but Crime & Court Act 2013 allows flexible working time. 
  • 30% of solicitors are from private schools, compared to only 8% population. 
  • However 53% solicitors first generation in family to go to university. 
  • More women graduated with firsts or 2:1's (60%) compared to men (57%) but men still dominate the profession. 
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