1) Outline the training process for Solicitors and Barrister's and identify its problems 2) Give a critical review of the proposal to fuse the two sides of the legal profession together. Most people who want to become a solicitor will get a law degree at University. For those who get a degree in another subject, they would have to do 1 year extra training and at the end of that year training they would have to sit the Common Professional Examination. The next stage would be the 1-year Legal Practice course, in this year the trainee would learn advocacy, interviewing skills and law research.
After they have passed this year they would then have to get a training contract with a solicitor's firm. If they do find a training contact at a firm they would then work there for 2 year's. During these two years the trainee would be paid but they would only get paid a small amount nothing compared to what a fully qualified solicitor would get paid. The trainee would do there own work at the firm but would be supervised by a solicitor. Only after all these things have been completed will the trainee solicitor be admitted to the Law Society, which is the professional body for solicitors.
In total for those people who do not obtain a law degree at university it takes around 7 to 8 years to become a solicitor. Like solicitor to become a Barrister you would need a degree, most people would do a law degree but those who do a degree in something else would have to do the Common Professional Exam. After this a trainee Barrister would then have to do pass the Bar vocational exam. They are only a limited number of places where a person can take this course. After the Student Barrister would have to take up Pupillage. This is basically on the job training. During this time they will shadow a Barrister for up to 12 months.
After the first 6 months the trainee can begin to appear in court and conduct there own cases. However there are problems with both these training processes. The first problem is the cost involved in become a solicitor and a Barrister. The Legal Practice course would cost around i?? 6,000 and they would still have to support themselves throughout this year. This means that people who come from poor families cannot afford to do the course even if they do have a law degree. Some people would take out a loan to help but this would mean that they would have a large dept at the end.
A trainee would get paid when doing work with a solicitors firm which would help them financially but a trainee Barrister would get paid have the amount of a trainee Solicitor. Another problem is the fact if a person does not do a law degree at University they only have to do a 1year course which some people is an inadequate amount. The finally problem is the there are a large amount of solicitors who cannot find a training contract and a large amount of Barristers who cannot find pupilage because of the large amount of people who apply. Some people believe that both these two professions should be merged into one.
The advantages of doing this would be it would eliminate the amount of wasted time and effort spent on cases. It would mean that there would be no need for duplication of work. At the moment a solicitor has to send a brief of the case to the Barristers but if the same person dealt with the case from the start this would not be needed. It would also reduce the cost because the client would not have to pay a solicitor and then Barrister. It would also mean continuity of care, because the lawyer who has taken the case from the start, and this means that the case does not have to be transferred to a Barrister.
Barristers are known for making last minute changes; therefore the new Barrister may not know all the key facts of the case so if there were fusion this would be avoided. If the two professions merged it would mean that individual lawyers would have the opportunity to develop their skills in any direction they choose. So it they wish to specialise in a certain area of law after the basic training they would be able to do so. The final advantage is that it would mean that there would be a larger amount of people who could be selected as judges. At the moment Solicitors can become judges, however it is very rare.
However there are some disadvantages of fusion, the first being that it would break up close working relationships between the small amounts of specialist Barristers. It would also mean that lawyers would have to become general practitioners, this would mean that there would be a lack of expertise because the lawyer would most likely try to handle the case on there own so they may not have as much knowledge in certain areas as other lawyers. The final problem is the fact the standards of advocacy may fall because if the case it handled by an ex-solicitor, although they would have some training in advocacy they would not have any experience.
Where as Barrister's spend years perfecting their advocacy skills, there they have a large amount of experience. Basically at the beginning of a case the ex solicitor would be more cable of handling the case compared to an ex Barrister but then when it comes to court the ex Barrister would have a great advantage over the ex Solicitor. Some people do not think that fusion is not needed because of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 and the Access to Justice Act 1999. This means that solicitors are able to do some amount of advocacy.